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NREL and Southern California Gas Launch First U.S. Power-to-Gas Project

Southern California Gas Company has joined with NREL to launch demonstration projects to create and test a carbon-free, power-to-gas system for the first time ever in the United States.

Photo of bioreactor being installed

The technology takes excess electricity and converts it to hydrogen, which can be used, stored, or combined with carbon dioxide and fed to a bioreactor to produce renewable natural gas. This innovative technology could provide North America with a large-scale, cost-effective solution for storing excess energy produced from renewable sources. The pilot project will be used to determine the commercial viability of this power-to-gas approach to energy storage and provide insights into megawatt-scale system designs. By combining these insights with renewable energy resource data, the research team will identify optimal locations in California and the western half of the U.S. where this grid-scale energy storage would be the most economical.

To learn more, read a Southern California Gas press release and see our news story on the project.

Project Basics

This "power-to-gas" pilot converts electricity to hydrogen and stores it as methane.

  • A water electrolyzer produces hydrogen from renewable power.
  • A bioreactor converts hydrogen and carbon dioxide into methane and water.
  • With minor filtration, the methane meets pipeline quality and can be injected into existing natural gas infrastructure.