LANCASTER — The city, global energy company SG H2 Energy and Iwatani, Japan’s leading hydrogen industrial gas company and a major developer of hydrogen refueling stations in California, launched the state’s first closed-loop green hydrogen ecosystem for transportation with a signing ceremony at Lancaster City Hall.
“This is truly an historic day,” Mayor R. Rex Parris said at the Friday afternoon ceremony. “The people in this room, these are major players in a global economy, and they’ve come to Lancaster to essentially solve a problem that is crushing the world. We know that hydrogen is the only technological solution, long-term, that will save this planet.”
SG H2 and Iwatani principals drove to the event from Los Angeles in fuel cell vehicles. In addition to Toyota Mirai fuel cell vehicles, a Toyota hydrogen-powered Class A truck towing an Iwatani tank was parked on the street in front of City Hall for the event.
Joe Cappello, chairman and CEO of Iwatani Corporation of America, thanked Parris and the city for hosting the ceremony.
“Your city is so forward-thinking because of your leadership and you’re setting a awesome example for California and the rest of the world,” Cappello said.
Cappello added: “This project is an example of the first integrated transportation fuel ecosystems utilizing renewable hydrogen produced from biowaste right here in Lancaster, that will be delivered in hydrogen fuel cell trucks throughout Southern California to provide the fuel necessary to power zero emission fuel cell trucks and cars, a complete closed-loop end-to-end zero emission process.”
Dr. Robert T. Do, president and CEO of SG H2, praised the city staff who will work to bring the project together.
“We are very excited to be partners with such a innovative group,” Do said, adding there is a lot of international focus on Lancaster.
Do, a biophysicist and physician, explained that almost all hydrogen in the world today comes from natural gas or coal.
“At the end of the day, we feel that the best source of hydrogen is actually waste, biomass, because every city in the world is generating a massive amount of waste,” Do said. “It’s a source of biomass that every city can follow the footpath of the City of Lancaster, use their resources, we’re talking about waste resources, and convert into hydrogen, which is a carbon free to meet our net zero.”
Keith Malone, legislative outreach and communications for the California Fuel Cell Partnership, said the partnership includes government agencies, energy companies and automakers of cars, buses and trucks and others that works to move hydrogen- and fuel cell-related technologies forward.
“I can’t emphasize enough how unique this moment is. Our members have been working for years to synchronize the roll-out of vehicles with fuel and infrastructure,” Malone said. “Today, in a way we never have, we are launching this third leg of synchronizing fuel production, especially here in the state. I cannot impress upon you enough how unique the roll of Lancaster is and will be given the project that we are launching today.”
SG H2 will build the world’s largest green renewable hydrogen facility in partnership with Lancaster on a five-acre site zoned for heavy industry at the intersection of Columbia Way (Avenue M) and Sixth Street East. The project is scheduled to break ground in the first quarter of 2022 and begin production in the third quarter of 2023.
It will produce up to 11,000 kilograms of green hydrogen per day, and 3.85 million kilograms per year at full operation in baseload capacity of 350 days per year — or 95% capacity factor. The facility will process 42,000 tons of recycled waste annually, employ 35 full-time employees once operational and provide more than 600 jobs during construction, according to a description.
Iwatani will use SG H2’s greener than green hydrogen to supply both existing and new refueling stations rolling out across the state.
Lancaster, host and partner of the green hydrogen production facility, will facilitate the supply of guaranteed feedstock of waste paper, which has the potential to save the City landfilling and landfill space expense.
With Friday’s signing ceremony, SG H2 kicked off the project’s front-end engineering and design phase. A consortium of leading global companies and top institutions joined with SG H2 and the City of Lancaster to develop and implement the Lancaster project, including Fluor and ABB Energy Industries.
Fluor, a global engineering, procurement and construction company, which has best-in-class experience in building large-scale hydrogen-from-gasification plants, has been awarded the contract to perform the front-end engineering and design work
ABB, a global technology company operating in over 100 countries, has been selected to partner across electrical, instrumentation, automation, security and telecommunications systems for this green hydrogen initiative.
The average cost of hydrogen for a light-duty fuel cell electric vehicle passenger car in California is $16.51 per kilogram.
The long-term goal is to get the cost of hydrogen dispensed at the pump equivalent to the cost that people pay today for conventional gasoline, Cappello said.
There are approximately 48 hydrogen stations open across California, with another 130 in some form of development, Malone said.
“The goal is to get to 200 quickly,” Cappello said, adding they hope to get to 1,000 stations within the next decade. “We have six stations that are currently in some form of construction and we’ll be commissioning and opening those stations all within the first half of next year, and the fuel will come from here.”