Southern California Gas Co. Wednesday began assembling a “hydrogen home” in Downey designed to show how carbon-free gas made from renewable electricity can be used to fuel energy systems of the future — the first project of its kind in the United States.

The H2 Hydrogen Home is a modular, prefabricated house that will act as a miniature microgrid — storing and providing resilient, low-carbon power when energy is needed — and demonstrate how such a system could be constructed on a larger scale to power residential neighborhoods and businesses, the utility said.

“For the past decade, SoCalGas has invested in hydrogen research and development, recognizing it as a critical component of our transition to net-zero emissions,” said Maryam Brown, SoCalGas president. “The H2 Hydrogen Home brings many of the technologies that we helped pioneer together under one roof in a unique showcase of how California might power resilient communities and businesses in the future.”

The project features a nearly 2,000 square-foot house, solar panels, a battery, an electrolyzer to convert solar energy to hydrogen and a fuel cell to supply electricity. Hydrogen will also be blended up to 20% with natural gas and used in the home’s tankless water heater, clothes dryer, gas stove, fireplace and BBQ grill, according to SoCalGas.

The home will function and feel exactly like a regular home but use reliable and clean energy throughout the year by drawing power from solar panels on sunny days and converting excess energy into clean hydrogen, which can be stored and then converted back into electricity with an on-site hydrogen fuel cell when solar or batteries cannot provide enough energy.

“The H2 Hydrogen Home is a tangible example of the cutting-edge technologies and clean energy systems that we will need to meet our net-zero carbon goal by 2045,” said Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, D-Bell Gardens. “As we shift toward a future of renewable electricity in California, we will rely on a variety of energy solutions, including hydrogen and advanced fuel cells to create a more resilient grid. I am proud that this first in the nation example will be showcased in the 58th District.”

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