Superior technology and competitive pricing are the tools natural gas deployed to bump coal off the leading position for power generation in the US. Well, turnabout is fair play. Now renewable energy is applying the same workbox to put the screws on natural gas. It’s not just happening in the power generation space. A new renewable hydrogen project in California could also shake natural gas loose from its grip on energy for building systems, including cooking, laundry, heating, and cooling. Somewhat ironically, the main source for hydrogen currently is natural gas. Renewable alternatives are beginning to emerge, though. One pathway is to use biogas instead of fossil gas. Another is to “split” hydrogen from water using an electrical current powered with wind, solar, or other renewables. Water splitting, aka power-to-gas, is beginning to take hold globally and that’s the basis for the new California project. The work pairs Southern California Gas Co. (aka SoCalGas) and German power-to-gas specialist Electrochaea in something called biomethanation. That’s fancyspeak for a complex process that starts with generating renewable energy — in this case, solar power — and using it to split hydrogen gas from water. The next step is where things get tricky. The hydrogen is doped with carbon dioxide and sent to a bioreactor stocked with water-dwelling microorganisms.
Clean Technica 15th Aug 2019 read more »