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Clean Energy: What’s Next

Part of our sustainability journey is implementing ESG (environmental, social, and governance) best practices into our businesses and leveraging technology to reach new heights. Another part of our sustainability journey is leveraging clean energy and innovation in a variety of industrial applications.

We are seeing the rise of hydrogen use, as an option for a clean source of energy in a variety of industrial applications—but now we are also seeing opportunities in residential markets as well, as utilities are exploring delivery solutions to enable their customers to use hydrogen for emission reduction.

Consider the example of Southern California Gas, which is a regulated subsidiary of Sempra Energy. The company is working with Emerson to deploy digital technologies, software, and services to demonstrate the resiliency and reliability of a hydrogen microgrid to southern California utility consumers.

In an October 2022, Emerson Whitepaper, the [H2] Innovation Experience shows how this carbon-free gas made using renewable electricity can be consumed in pure form or blended with natural gas to fuel clean energy systems of the future. The demonstration project provides a path to reducing emissions from home energy use, which is another critical component to a cleaner energy future.

Inside the Home

The nearly 2,000-sq.ft. home boasts solar panels, a power storage battery bank, an electrolyzer to convert solar energy to renewable hydrogen, and a fuel cell to supply electricity. Hydrogen, produced at the site, can also be blended with utility-provided natural gas, and used in the home’s heat pump HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) unit, water heater, clothes dryer, and stove.

Gas flow and precise gas concentrations are monitored and controlled with control hardware, instrumentation, and software provided by Emerson and integratezd by Caltrol Inc., an Emerson Impact Partner. The [H2] Innovation Experience is effectively a small-scale microgrid, able to reliably deliver power in multiple forms when energy is needed. Such installations can provide long-duration energy storage, along with low-carbon distributed power. When constructed on a larger scale, this type of system could provide clean energy to residential neighborhoods and businesses.

At the Utility

In addition, Emerson also provided advanced process control systems to SoCalGas as well as safety instrumented systems, electronic marshalling technology, instrumentation, final control elements, and analytics solutions. These work together to help meet the utility’s ESG goals and the safety requirements.

While this is simply one example, the bottomline is we need more innovation at our utilities if we want to continue our clean energy journey. This will require a combination of digital technologies, software and services, and new energy innovation. It’s very exciting for me, personally, to see companies like Emerson who I have known and worked with for decades really innovate from industrial to residential. The future is green if we are willing to take that next step.

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