Our good friend Mike Prencavage Jr., owner of The Family Plumber, Los Alamitos, Calif., and president of PHCC CA-ORSB, and some of his California PHCC constituents, recently took a tour of SoCalGas’s [H2] Innovation Experience and new model net zero home.
“We were fortunate to visit the SoCalGas facility in Downey, Calif., more specifically a mockup home that runs off a mix of hydrogen and natural gas. The system is a H2 microgrid; it’s a regenerative system that can operate solely based off a small amount of water input from either a city source or from a desalinized source, or ocean water,” says Prencavage Jr.
The Innovation Experience is North America’s first-ever clean hydrogen powered microgrid and home. This project demonstrates how carbon-free gas made from renewable electricity can be used in pure form or as a blend to fuel energy systems and communities of the future.
Part of the Experience features clean hydrogen production and storage along with a nearly 2,000 square-foot home that can draw power from solar panels and convert excess renewable energy into clean hydrogen. “Simply put, the net zero home is using solar energy through PV panels, which is then stored in batteries—that’s for the electricity to actually power the home. Then, through an electrolysis method, running the electricity from the battery through water, they are creating hydrogen, which gets stored in a tank which then gets used to mix with the natural gas in the home so that it reduces your natural gas intake from the city by 20 percent,” says Prencavage Jr.
SoCalGas has made a considerable, multi-million-dollar investment in what they believe is the future of clean renewable energy. “It is truly amazing how technology has gotten to this point for renewables. As the argument has always been we’re switching to electricity—here is California, it has been a huge push—most Californians understand, we just don’t have the infrastructure for this … so this visit opened a lot of minds to an alternative-type fuel source when it comes to a blended mix of hydrogen and natural gas,” says Prencavage Jr.
Listen to more on the SoCalGas visit by listening to the Appetite for Construction podcast here: