Southern California Gas utility proposing Angeles Link to connect Hydrogen infrastructure into LA Basin

Feb. 21, 2022
The project would move green H2 at volumes equivalent to 25 percent of SoCalGas’ current natural gas delivery amounts. The utility says that infrastructure would displace up to 3 million gallons of diesel fuel per day used by heavy freight trucks

The push for so-called green hydrogen faces many financial and logistical hurdles, but momentum is building from its many well-invested supporters.

A big push was announced late last week, as utility giant Southern California Gas Co. detailed plans for what it called the nation’s largest green hydrogen infrastructure system to bring carbon-free H2 into the Los Angeles region. Hydrogen itself does not burn a carbon atom, but to be truly green it must be produced from electrolysis (separating the H2 from water) powered by carbon-free energy resources such as wind, solar or nuclear.

The Angeles Link would move green hydrogen at volumes equivalent to 25 percent of SoCalGas’ current natural gas delivery amounts. The utility says that infrastructure would displace up to 3 million gallons of diesel fuel per day by replacing those heavy-duty trucks with hydrogen fuel-cell trucks.

The supply chain, if fully realized, also would provide zero-carbon or carbon-neutral fuel to convert up to four natural gas-fired power plants to green hydrogen, according to the release.

"The challenges we face on climate require solutions of scale and urgency," said Scott Drury, chief executive officer of SoCalGas. "The Angeles Link is designed to meet those challenges head-on. Today in Southern California we're announcing plans for one of the world's largest clean energy infrastructure systems, to help tackle emissions for which there are no easy answers. Those emissions – from power plants, industry, and heavy-duty trucks - very much 'count' and must be significantly reduced to reach our and the State's climate goals."

The Angeles Link would tie in together with numerous parallel green H2 projects. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power already is a planned off-taker for a massive Intermountain Power Plant project in Utah.

In addition, the LADWP and SoCalGas are working with non-profit HyDeal Los Angeles, Mitsubishi Power and others to scale up hydrogen production so that costs can drop to about $1.50 per kilogram produced in the LA Basin by 2030.

Related stories

Siemens Gamesa produces Green Hydrogen at Denmark site

Teams working on H2 storage idea for Clemson University campus

See EnergyTech's full coverage of Hydrogen's Future in the C&I Energy Transition

Subscribe to our free, tri-weekly Email Newsletter for more stories like these

Seven years ago, SoCalGas launched a power to gas hydrogen demonstration project. The SoCalGas H2 Hydrogen Home Microgrid demonstration is testing movement of H2 through existing natural gas infrastructure.

"We are encouraged that SoCalGas is embarking on a major project that will help make green hydrogen a reality here in Los Angeles," said Marty Adams, Chief Engineer and General Manager of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP). "Developing a source of safe, affordable green hydrogen is key to achieving our clean energy future by 2035, while ensuring the reliability we all need and depend on. Projects like the proposed Angeles Link are an important step forward." 

Some skeptics, while acknowledging the carbon-free potential of hydrogen in the fuel mix, point to potential costs of additional hundreds of billions of dollars, likely trillions to make it happen at scale. Hydrogen is a different, much lighter form of gas presenting challenges in storage, distribution and combustion, as well as production since it is not found in concentration but must be created from electrolysis or steam reforming of methane.

-- -- -- 

(Rod Walton, senior editor for EnergyTech, is a 14-year veteran of covering the energy industry both as a newspaper and trade journalist. He can reached at [email protected]).