Natural gas distribution company Southwest Gas Corp will explore hydrogen-blended natural gas under pilot programmes with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) and Arizona State University in Tempe (ASU).
The company, which serves over two million customers in Arizona, California and Nevada, said the projects are expected to start in the first quarter of 2022 and will take place at Southwest Gas' Emergency Response Training Facility (EMRF) in both cities. These facilities replicate the natural gas network and real-world gas appliances.
As part of the programme with UNLV, Southwest Gas will use the university's electrolyser to test the production, blending, distribution and end-use of hydrogen blend. Green hydrogen will be blended with natural gas at ratios of 5%, 10% and 50%. The study with ASU will use pre-purchased hydrogen bottles and will blend up to 20% hydrogen with 80% natural gas.
The first phase of programmes will last several months and will serve to shape subsequent phases.
Southwest Gas president and chief executive John Hester said the company is taking a proactive approach to hydrogen. "While clean, affordable and reliable natural gas has already helped drive emissions reductions, we believe Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) and hydrogen are powerful solutions to further decarbonise our system," according to Hester.
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