A hydrogen hub in Utah could power L.A.’s climate future. Now Chevron wants in

September 17, 2021

Chevron Corp. — one of the world’s largest oil and gas companies, headquartered in California — says it plans to invest in a related project critical to making L.A.’s hydrogen dreams a reality.

The project is called Advanced Clean Energy Storage, and it would involve pumping hydrogen into naturally occurring underground salt domes that happen to be located across the street from the [Intermountain Power Plant in Utah] — a happy coincidence, as I explained in a 2019 story. Salt domes are common on the Gulf Coast, but extremely rare out West. The project’s developer was initially focused on a different type of energy storage known as compressed air, but hydrogen has since emerged as the big-ticket item.

What makes hydrogen so attractive? It can be produced by simple electrolysis, using solar or wind power to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. And it can be banked for long periods of time before being burned, essentially allowing sunlight and wind to be “stored” for times of year when those renewable power sources are not so abundant.

The Intermountain storage project is a joint venture between Japanese conglomerate Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Utah-based Magnum Development, which owns the underground salt domes. Paul Browning, president of the Mitsubishi subsidiary involved with the project, told me the companies would use renewable electricity to produce hydrogen on sunny, wind days, then convert the fuel back to electricity “when it has its highest value to the grid.”

Read more here.

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