The global energy company SGH2 is bringing the world’s largest green hydrogen production facility to Lancaster, California. The plant will feature SGH2’s pioneering technology, which uses recycled mixed paper waste to produce “greener than green” hydrogen that reduces carbon emissions by two to three times more than green hydrogen produced using electrolysis and renewable energy, and is five to seven times cheaper. SGH2 green hydrogen is cost competitive with “gray” hydrogen produced from fossil fuels, which comprises the majority of hydrogen used in the United States.
The city of Lancaster will host and co-own the hydrogen production facility, according to a recent memorandum of understanding. It will be able to produce up to 11,000 kilograms of green hydrogen per day and 3.8 million kilograms per year (nearly three times more than any other green hydrogen facility, built or under construction, anywhere in the world), and will process 42,000 tons of recycled waste annually. The city will supply guaranteed feedstock of recyclables, and will save between $50 to $75 per ton in landfilling and landfill space costs.
California’s largest owners and operators of hydrogen refueling stations are in negotiation to purchase the plant’s output to supply current and future stations to be built in the state over the next ten years.
“As the world, and our city, cope with the coronavirus crisis, we are looking for ways to ensure a better future. We know a circular economy with renewable energy is the path, and we have positioned ourselves to be the alternative energy capital of the world. That’s why our partnership with SGH2 is so important,” said Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris. “This is game-changing technology. It not only solves our air quality and climate challenges by producing pollution-free hydrogen. It also solves our plastics and waste problems by turning them into green hydrogen, and does it cleaner and at costs far lower than any other green hydrogen producer.”
Developed by NASA scientist Dr. Salvador Camacho and SGH2 CEO Dr. Robert T. Do, a biophysicist and physician, SGH2’s proprietary technology gasifies any kind of waste – from plastic to paper and from tires to textiles – to make hydrogen.
A consortium of leading global companies and top institutions have joined with SGH2 and the city of Lancaster to develop and implement the Lancaster project, including: Fluor, Berkeley Lab, UC Berkeley, Thermosolv, Integrity Engineers, Millenium, HyetHydrogen, and Hexagon.
SGH2’s hydrogen is greener than green because in addition to producing carbon-free hydrogen, SGH2’s patented Solena Plasma Enhanced Gasification (SPEG) technology gasifies biogenic waste materials, and uses no externally sourced energy. Berkeley Lab performed a preliminary lifecycle carbon analysis, which found that for every ton of hydrogen produced, SPEG technology reduces emissions by 23 to 31 tons of CO2 equivalent, which is 13 to 19 tons more CO2 avoided per ton than any other green hydrogen process. And SGH2 hydrogen is five to seven times cheaper than other green hydrogen.
SGH2 is in negotiations to launch similar projects in France, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine, Greece, Japan, South Korea, Poland, Turkey, Russia, China, Brazil, Malaysia and Australia. SGH2’s stacked modular design is built for rapid scale and linear distributed expansion and lower capital costs. It does not depend on particular weather conditions, and does not require as much land as solar- and wind-based projects.
The Lancaster plant will be built on a 5-acre site, which is zoned heavy industrial. It will employ 35 people full-time once it’s operational, and will provide over 600 jobs during 18 months of construction. SGH2 anticipates breaking ground in Q1 2021, start-up and commissioning in Q4 2022, and full operations in Q1 2023.
The Lancaster plant output will be used at hydrogen refueling stations across California for both light- and heavy-duty fuel cell vehicles. Unlike other green hydrogen production methods that depend on variable solar or wind energy, the SPEG process relies on a constant, year-round stream of recycled waste feedstocks, and therefore can produce hydrogen at scale more reliably.