Leveraging the Versatility of Hydrogen to Decarbonize California’s Large Commercial and Industrial Facilities

Hydrogen is a powerful and flexible low-carbon molecule that can help global economies transition to cleaner energy systems. To increase the adoption of hydrogen-based fuels to meet the growing demand for decarbonization, however, requires innovation and collaboration to get these transitions right.

Last year, the California Energy Commission awarded GTI Energy and partners nearly $1.8 million to commission a technical study that looks at the impact of use of hydrogen and hydrogen blends in existing appliances and equipment as a potential decarbonization strategy for the state’s large commercial buildings and industrial sector. Through the collaborative study, GTI Energy and its partners are defining the upper practical limit of hydrogen use in large commercial and industrial facilities in the state, data which will support the developing Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs and help transition California to a cleaner energy economy.

The project team, which consists of GTI Energy, Electric Power Research Institute, University of California, Irvine, and the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute, aims to quantify the costs, safety implications, and emissions benefits of adopting hydrogen-based fuels in these sectors through a broad techno-economic assessment (TEA). The initial TEA, informed by laboratory testing, combustion simulation, air quality modeling, and stakeholder feedback, outlines five hydrogen adoption scenarios, assesses equipment performance, and quantifies the ability of each scenario to reduce carbon emissions.

This project is supported by the California Energy Commission, Low-Carbon Resources Initiative, Southern California Gas, Pacific Gas & Electric, Southwest Gas, and Utilization Technology Development (UTD).

By collaborating with government, industry, and academia stakeholders across the hydrogen value chain, the project team will help create the conditions necessary for low-emission hydrogen to lead in the transition to cleaner energy systems. The team expects to share results of the completed study in the next 24 months.

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