Dubbed H2 SilverSTARS, the 36-month demonstration project will produce hydrogen from renewable natural gas (RNG) to help fuel SunLine’s fleet of 17 hydrogen fuel cell-electric buses.

H2 View understands the technology developed by STARS at the Pacific Northwest National Lab uses a combustion free process, cutting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions compared to conventional steam methane reforming.

Based on low-cost, compact 3D-printed reactor disks and heat exchangers, the system can easily be installed on site at fuelling stations to help meet scaling demand for cleaner fuel alternatives.

Read more: California: SunLine Transit Agency to trial cost competitive hydrogen production technology for bus refuelling

Robert Wegeng, President of STARS Technology Corporation, said, “For several years now, the high cost of transporting hydrogen has been the big problem with rolling out fuel cell vehicles in California

“This demonstration elegantly solves the problem with a compact, mass-produced hydrogen generator that can be placed on the gas grid in close proximity to filling stations and other places where cheap hydrogen is useful.

“Better yet, the hydrogen can meet the new Federal ‘Clean Hydrogen Standard’ for regional hydrogen hubs since it can be produced from renewable natural gas.”

SoCalGas has said after the installation, the first STARS system will produce up to 80kg of clean hydrogen per day, enough to fuel three of SunLine’s hydrogen-powered buses daily.

Neil Navin, Vice-President of Clean Energy Innovations at SoCalGas, added, “This is the kind of demonstration project we love to see in California and we’re excited construction has started. SoCalGas will use the knowledge gained from this project to help accelerate the adoption of clean hydrogen.

“Adopting clean technologies and working with SunLine and STARS will help SoCalGas and California reach our shared air quality and climate goals much faster.”

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