Orange Cove Hydrogen Blending Demonstration Project

PAVING THE WAY FOR A NET-ZERO FUTURE

At the direction of the California Public Utilities Commission, SoCalGas is proposing a local demonstration project that could safely blend up to 5% clean, renewable hydrogen into the natural gas system serving approximately 10,000 residents, along with commercial customers in the City of Orange Cove, in Fresno County.

What is Hydrogen Blending

It is the process of blending hydrogen into natural gas and injecting it into the natural gas infrastructure.

Project Overview

  • The project would blend clean, renewable hydrogen with natural gas into the existing gas distribution system serving approximately 10,000 residents, along with commercial customers in the City of Orange Cove
  • Starting with small concentrations of 0.1% gradually increasing the hydrogen concentrations up to 5%
  • Active blending is expected to last approximately 18 months in the city

How Hydrogen Blending Works in Orange Cove

Orangecove blending technology

Hydrogen Blending is Safe, Proven Around the World

Hydrogen is a gas that we can get energy from to help power homes and businesses, just like natural gas. In fact, the U.S. Department of Energy says that hydrogen is just as safe as natural gas when used as an energy source.

Hydrogen blending – or mixing hydrogen with natural gas – is not new and has been safely used in the U.S. and around the world for decades. Since 1974, Hawaiʻi Gas has been powering homes and businesses with a fuel mix of up to 15% hydrogen, and its customers have been using hydrogen blended gas in their stoves and heaters. Hydrogen blending has been safely demonstrated in many countries around the world such as Singapore, Canada, the UK, France and the Netherlands. The State of California wants to demonstrate and gather data on the safe use of blending here to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in our communities.

A 2022 University of California, Riverside study commissioned by the State of California concluded that the  scientific consensus was that blends of up to 5% hydrogen could be used, “without significantly increasing risk factors in the storage, transmission, and utilization.”

SoCalGas Has a Robust Safety Plan for Orange Cove

We have safely and reliably delivered energy to our customers for over 150 years. Our safety plan includes the following measures, which we regularly use throughout our gas system and at our own hydrogen home in Downey:

 

  
  Appliance inspections – free of charge to anyone who accepts one – to confirm home appliances like stoves and water 
  heaters are in safe, working order


  
  Regular leak checks to the Orange Cove gas system before and throughout the project, and make any repairs, 
  if necessary


  
  Installation of remote monitors and automatic shutdowns at the start of the project for leak detection and response

 


 
  Work closely with local fire department and city staff and provide educational briefings for hydrogen safety 
  procedures and develop emergency response plans


SoCalGas is Experienced with Hydrogen Blending

Blending is safe and proven and SoCalGas has been blending hydrogen with natural gas for a decade. We blended hydrogen on the University of California, Irvine campus in 2016. And today, we’re blending hydrogen on our own properties, including at our [H2] Innovation Experience hydrogen home in Downey.

Orange Cove Could Help Pave the Way for a Net-Zero Future

To support California's climate and clean air goals, SoCalGas is proposing a demonstration project that will blend clean, renewable hydrogen serving residents and businesses. This project would offer a real-world environment to better understand how clean renewable hydrogen and natural gas can be safely delivered to customers in the future. This is part of a broader effort by California and utilities to develop a standard for safe hydrogen blending, which could reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality. The data gathered from this demonstration can also help assess how to speed the development and deployment of related advanced technologies key to the state’s climate and clean air goals.

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