Hydrogen is going mainstream. And now SoCalGas wants to show how this clean energy source can fuel homes. The utility is set to build the "H2 Hydrogen Home," a first of its kind demonstration project in the U.S.
The H2 Hydrogen Home is designed with solar panels, which will power the project's home on sunny days and also provide excess electricity that will be stored for night use and cloudy days. Some of that extra electricity will charge a home battery for short-term energy storage. The rest of the solar power will be converted to clean hydrogen using an electrolyzer and stored until needed. That stored hydrogen will also be converted back to electricity with an on-site fuel cell. And finally, the hydrogen will be blended with natural gas and used in the home's heat pump HVAC unit, water heater, clothes dryer, and gas stove.
"The H2 Hydrogen Home will help guide decision-making that will ultimately create the 21st century energy system needed to provide clean, affordable and resilient energy for Californians, said Maryam Brown, SoCalGas president."
SoCalGas is collaborating on this project with ATCO and leveraging the design and experience gained in the process of developing its Clean Energy Innovation Hub (CEIH) in Perth, Australia. ATCO designed and constructed the CEIH in 2019, funded in part by Australia's Renewable Energy Agency. The CEIH serves as a living lab to test hybrid energy solutions, and integrates solar panels, battery storage, natural gas and hydrogen production.
Global interest in hydrogen continues to grow. Next month, the first hydrogen fueled homes in the United Kingdom are set to be completed.
So, is the "hydrogen hype" for real? In a word, yes.