Research Development & Demonstration (RD&D)

Working to reduce the environmental impact for all of us.

SoCalGas® is actively working towards the goal of achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions in our operations and delivery of energy by 2045. Innovation and the rapid development of new technologies are vital to our success. Our Research, Development, & Demonstration (RD&D) Program plays a key role in this effort by developing and demonstrating transformational products and technologies that promote decarbonization across the natural gas value chain and a diversified portfolio of clean energy sources, distributed networks, tools, and applications.

Public Workshop Notice

We hosted a public workshop to present the results of the 2021 RD&D program, review 2022 RD&D Activities, and obtain input from stakeholders, such as the California Energy Commission, Gas Technology Institute, the U.S. Department of Energy, and other organizations engaged in gas research and development, regarding intended RD&D spending for the 2023 calendar year.

The workshop was ordered by the October 1, 2019 Decision Addressing the Test Year 2019 General Rate Cases of San Diego Gas & Electric Company and Southern California Gas Company (D.19.09-051 at pp. 378-379). 

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RD&D Spotlights

  • Image of a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle.

    Cal State LA Drives Upward Mobility Through Senior-Year Engineering Program

    We worked with Cal State LA’s engineering program to help students sharpen their professional skills. The Capstone Senior Design Program presents students with the opportunity to review current real-world engineering challenges. This program helps students become critical thinkers and gain valuable experience that they can carry with them into their careers. 

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    Photo of hydrogen fuel cell drone over a body of water and two ships.

    Hydrogen-Fuel-Cell Drones Enable Long-Range Pipeline Inspection

    We have begun exploring the use of zero-emission, hydrogen-fuel-cell-powered drones with Korean firm Doosan Mobility Innovation (DMI) and GTI, an R&D organization that develops and demonstrates new energy technologies. Zero-emission drones lay the groundwork for a companywide transition to hydrogen-fuel-cell powered aircraft to improve the efficiency of pipeline inspections.

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Our Webinars

Gas Mapping LiDARTM Airborne Methane Leak Detection and Emissions Monitoring

We had a webinar with Bridger Photonics, Inc. (Bridger) about Gas Mapping LiDARTM (GML), an airborne methane emission monitoring technology developed by Bridger to detect, localize, and quantify methane emission from all segments of the natural gas value chain – production, transmission, and distribution. In this seminar, we provided an overview of the GML technology, presented results from performance validation testing, and described how GML is deployed for emissions monitoring surveys within the SoCalGas service area.

Speakers: Mike Thorpe is the CTO of Bridger Photonics, Inc. He received his PhD in Laser Physics from the University of Colorado in 2009 and specializes in various fields of laser measurement technology including remote sensing, lidar, molecular spectroscopy, and trace gas detection. Mike currently leads the development of Bridger’s Gas Mapping LiDARTM and Flux Curtain technologies for detecting, localizing, and quantifying methane emissions throughout the natural gas value chain.

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Thermal Particle Fluid for Commercial & Industrial Emissions Reductions

We had a webinar with GTI about an innovative Thermal Particle Fluid (TPF) that can recover, store, and transport heat for large commercial and industrial processes. By recovering and reusing waste heat, TPFs can reduce fuel demand for large process heat systems, resulting in lower combustion emissions and decreased customer costs. TPF systems could also allow commercial and industrial customers to integrate solar thermal heat resources, further reducing fuel demand and emissions.

In this webinar, we introduce GTI’s TPF technology and the role that particle transport and recovery can play in lowering GHG profiles in existing natural gas infrastructure. We also discuss the recent work that GTI completed with assistance from SoCalGas, California Energy Commission (CEC), and Advanced Research Project Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) to test and demonstrate the TPF system at UC Merced. The next phase of research involves a field demonstration of the TPF system in a process heating application in Southern California.

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Decarbonizing Steel Production with Green Hydrogen

We partnered with University of California, Irvine (UCI) on a webinar about a new $5.7 million effort with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to develop novel, renewable and more efficient manufacturing processes for steel production. The project seeks to prove that renewable hydrogen, produced via high-temperature, solid oxide electrolysis cells (SOEC), powered by wind and solar resources, can successfully be integrated into steel manufacturing processes.

In this webinar, Dr. Jack Brouwer and Dr. Luca Mastropasqua of UCI discussed how the collaboration with Italy's Politecnico di Milano and Laboratorio Energia Ambiente Piacenza (LEAP) and U.S. companies FuelCell Energy, Hatch, and SoCalGas will integrate SOECs with direct reduced iron (DRI) technology to completely decarbonize steel production.

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Press Releases