A growing interest in renewable natural gas (RNG) was underscored this month as Newport Beach, CA-based Clean Energy Fuels Corp. signed seven fleet and fueling station supply contracts and Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) entered a demonstration project using supplies to produce hydrogen.

Socalgas hydrogen

Clean Energy, which has contracts with fleets in the ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach, said drayage company Pac Anchor Transportation has added 23 trucks to its fleet for an estimated 2.5 million gallons/year of RNG. 

Other contracts secured are with Cal Portland, Biagi Brothers, Ecology Auto Parts, Matheson Trucking Co. and Republic Transportation Group. Another five-year agreement is with Evo Transportation & Energy Services Inc., a provider for the U.S. Postal Service. 

For British Columbia Transit in Canada, the firm would help to fuel 60 buses with up to 13 million gallons/year. Another project with GTrans in Gardena, CA, is for a compressed natural gas station for 40 transit buses.

In other news, SoCalGas plans a demonstration project to produce hydrogen from RNG at a SunLine Transit Agency hydrogen fueling station in Thousand Palms, CA. The H2SilverSTARS demonstration aims to produce renewable hydrogen to fuel transit buses. “The combination of new technologies will make it possible to provide renewable hydrogen made from RNG at natural gas fueling stations — or any location near a natural gas pipeline,” said Neil Navin, vice president of SoCalGas clean energy innovations.

“For SoCalGas, this is another step toward meeting our pledge to achieve net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in our operations and delivery of energy by 2045.” The 36-month project’s goal is to produce renewable hydrogen for fuel cell electric cars and other vehicles at a price competitive with gasoline. The SunLine location may be able to produce up to 650 kilograms/day of hydrogen. 

“STARS’s technology takes the Linde system a step further to achieve significantly greater efficiencies in producing hydrogen by using a ‘compact microchannel design’ driven without combustion using an electricity-powered induction heating process significantly reducing GHG emissions compared to traditional hydrogen production,” according to the utility. In addition, the system would be produced using 3-D printing, “making it well suited for mass production.”