Green hydrogen would be added to isolated part of natural gas distribution system.

By Dale Lunan

San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) said September 12 it had submitted a proposal to California regulators for a demonstration project at the University of California San Diego (UC San Diego) to study the impact of blending hydrogen into existing natural gas distribution systems.

It's the second utility this month to reveal such plans, coming on the heels of an announcement last week from Southern California Gas that it would study hydrogen/natural gas blending with UC Irvine.

If approved by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), SDG&E would inject up to 20% hydrogen into an isolated distribution line serving a UC San Diego apartment complex, to fuel common building components like boilers and water heaters. The hydrogen would be produced on-site from a dedicated, grid-connected electrolyser.

“Achieving the state’s climate goals, including reaching carbon neutrality by 2045, will require a broad range of clean energy technologies,” SDG&E CEO Caroline Winn said. “That’s why we are investing in the research, development and demonstration of emerging hydrogen innovations that have the potential to be a game changer.”

Pending CPUC approval, construction would begin in Q2 2024, with blending occurring in late 2024 through early 2026.