Innovative technology that uses solar energy to convert 100% renewable biogas to hydrogen on display

November 30, 2023. Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) announced that an innovative technology developed by UCLA researchers with potential project support from SoCalGas if approved by the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC), is currently on display at the 28th session of the Conference of Parties (COP 28) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The work is part of the technology showcase selected and organized by the group Prototypes for Humanity from November 29th – December 2nd. The goal of the technology is to use renewable solar energy and biogas to produce hydrogen and high-quality cylindrical graphite through an environmentally sustainable process. If developed at scale, this technology has the potential to be applicable to fuel cells, microgrids, and utility-scale hydrogen production.

“Having this innovative technology showcased during COP28 alongside 99 other innovative technologies highlights the importance of cultivating a broad range of climate solutions to help meet the global needs specific to each economy,” said Neil Navin, Chief Clean Fuels Officer at SoCalGas. “This technology could be capable of producing hydrogen, which could potentially be stored for later use. Additionally, the associated solid carbon developed from this process could be used to produce key components of batteries, which might help reduce battery production costs in the energy transition.”

Over the past two years, the technology was successfully developed and demonstrated in a laboratory setting and is now advancing from the laboratory to a real-world demonstration. The next phase of the UCLA lead project is to secure additional funding, with five potential demonstration sites under consideration with SoCalGas if approved by the CPUC.