2024 CHLS to Promote State’s Move Towards Becoming a Strong Hydrogen Market Leader

April 24, 2024

Listen to this article:

Hydrogen is once again in the news, as the launch of seven hydrogen hubs is getting attention throughout the country. California has been selected for the award of its own hub thanks to the efforts of the Alliance for Renewable Clean Hydrogen Energy Systems or ARCHES. The ongoing developments, as well as the policies, programs and incentives needed to accelerate production, use, and storage of hydrogen will be center stage at this year’s California Hydrogen Leadership Summit (CHLS), June 16 and 17, in Sacramento, California.

While the hubs can create a new pathway to achieve clean air; protect the climate; grow clean, renewable energy resources; create a sustainable economy; and help meet the 2030 U.S. hydrogen production target of 10 million metric tons, there are more hurdles that need to be overcome to reach this goal.

“California has an opportunity to be the world leader in the hydrogen economy and bring the benefits of hydrogen to our local communities, especially with the ARCHES hydrogen hub announcement. We should be as inclusive as possible when it comes to renewable feedstocks, and public policy needs to smooth the way for the transition to clean hydrogen,” said Katrina Fritz, president and CEO of the California Hydrogen Business Council. “We also need to ensure that California is enabling, not restricting, the cost-effective production and use of hydrogen in all sectors, and not leave the industry to thrive in other regions.

Alison Trueblood, general manager of fuel cell and hydrogen technologies at Accelera, will be one of the featured speakers at this year’s event and sees the importance of keeping hydrogen in the news, as well as in the minds of the state’s policymakers.

“Embracing the power of hydrogen is not just about staying ahead; it’s about pioneering a sustainable future for California,” said Trueblood. “We must lead the charge in cultivating a robust hydrogen market, driving innovation and adoption in fuel cell technology for both mobile and stationary applications. California is at the forefront of energy evolution, and Accelera is alongside, powering progress towards a cleaner, greener tomorrow.”

While there are numerous avenues to examine, there is no one solution that will accelerate the transition of the state’s hydrogen market, according to Nuray Elci, Chevron’s general manager of renewables.

“We need multiple solutions, technologies and innovations to provide energy to the world that is affordable, reliable and ever-cleaner — from traditional products to renewable gasoline blends, renewable diesel, CNG from renewable natural gas and hydrogen,” said Elci. “And we can’t get to a lower carbon future without new partnerships, collaborations and well-designed government policies.”

These are not immediate solutions, but long-term strategies that can only be implemented with the right partnerships. And some of these new and evolving collaborations would not have been possible if not for events like CHLS.

“Our favorite part of the Leadership Summit is connecting with others who are working to develop the macro hydrogen infrastructure that is mission critical to achieve decarbonization,” said Chuck Hakala, vice president of sales at Caltrol. “This includes conversations around legislation, technology, safety and economic issues that need to be furthered to advance California’s leadership position in hydrogen adoption.”

Utilities are also part of the solution, leading projects that will expand the reach and adoption of hydrogen as a transportation fuel.

“PG&E is proud to be among those leading in the area of exploration and research around the feasibility of hydrogen blended within current natural gas pipeline systems. Our Hydrogen to Infinity demonstration project, being developed in Lodi, California, will test blending at transmission pressures, filling critical knowledge gaps that will hopefully help support the development of a hydrogen blend injection standard for the state of California,” said Austin Hastings, senior director gas strategy execution and system planning, PG&E.

Neil Navin, senior vice president of engineering and major projects, and chief clean fuels officer for SoCalGas, will update the audience on the utility’s sustainability strategy and development of the Angeles Link, which could be the first renewable hydrogen energy pipeline in the U.S.

“Angeles Link could expand access to hydrogen for heavy-duty vehicle fleets, industrial processes, power generation, and other difficult-to-electrify sectors, which would in turn decrease the demand for fossil fuels, improve air quality in our communities, and move California and SoCalGas closer to achieving our ambitious climate goals,” said Navin.

The event will highlight hydrogen development efforts in several transportation sectors, including rail. Through a partnership with the California Energy Commission and the California State Transportation Agency, Sierra Northern Railway is spearheading the development and testing of cutting-edge hydrogen locomotives within the state.

“California is poised to become the leader of the U.S. rail industry’s decarbonization efforts,” said Mike Hart, CEO, Sierra Railroad Company. “Complementing this initiative, Sierra Energy is advancing the commercialization of its revolutionary fastox gasification technology right here in California, creating a sustainable source of clean hydrogen to fuel these locomotives. With support from the state, these pioneering hydrogen initiatives promise to transform our rail networks into greener, more sustainable systems within the next five years.”

Featured speakers at this year’s summit include leaders from California’s legislature, public agencies, municipal and tribal governments, businesses, and academia, who will identify the steps needed to increase the use of hydrogen and related technologies and explore the policy mechanisms the state can deploy to further facilitate hydrogen commercialization.

This year’s panels will include:

  • Exploring the Keys to Success for California’s Hydrogen Hub
  • Hydrogen Decarbonizing Transportation
  • Building Efficiencies into the Permitting and Approval Processes
  • Valuing Renewable Hydrogen and its Environmental Attributes

To register or learn more, visit www.cahydrogenleadershipsummit.com.