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The Research Development & Demonstration (RD&D) team at SoCalGas is excited to share updates on our latest projects, collaborations, and events. Read on to learn how our involvement in cutting-edge research and groundbreaking pilot projects support our mission to build America's Cleanest, Safest, and Most Innovative Energy Infrastructure company. 

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Project Spotlight

Engineering professor realizes childhood dream and inspires others at UCI Combustion Laboratory (UCICL). Dr. Padak and her team are researching ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change while providing guidance, insight, and encouragement to aspiring female and minority students. 

Learn more about this project and other exciting projects from SoCalGas RD&D.

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Webinar Spotlight

SoCalGas and NYSEARCH recently hosted a webinar to talk about Intero/Pipetel Explorer Robot with Seam Weld Crack Detection technology, which was developed from the commercialization of a series of platforms and sensors to inspect unpiggable pipes under live conditions and featured corrosion detection and mechanical damage sensing capabilities. Intero/Pipetel has subsequently developed additional capabilities like crack sensing, energy harvesting, and automation to further enhance effectiveness.
This webinar focused on how the Seam Weld Crack Sensor detects cracks along the seam welds of pipe without multiple passes and the benefits and challenges of commercially deploying this important program.

Visit our YouTube channel* to listen to this discussion and more.

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Meet the RD&D Team

Karen McInnis is the Gas Operations team lead in the SoCalGas (RD&D) group. Karen’s responsibilities include overseeing the team that manages the Gas Operations Program Project Portfolio as well as partnering with the three main research consortiums: NYSEARCH, PRCI and OTD. Karen joined SoCalGas in 1989.
She is excited to leverage today’s technological advances into SoCalGas’ company operations. 
Karen holds a Bachelor of Science in engineering, industrial & manufacturing from Cal State University, Northridge; a Master of Business Administration from Kettering University; and a PMP Certification.  

Get to know other talented individuals who make up the RD&D Team by visiting our
 Meet the Team webpage.


Press Releases

SoCalGas Machine Learning Project Achieves $150,000 Annual Savings, Nearly 1,000 Metric Tons of Annual CO2 Reductions For Industrial Customer

SoCalGas announced the results of a machine learning project, a collaboration with the METRON company that helped an industrial customer achieve $150,000 in annual, recurring energy savings and nearly 1,000 metric tons of annual CO2 reductions, all through an initial setup cost of $100,000.

Visit our newsroom to read more

SoCalGas and ClearSign Collaboration Awarded U.S. Department of Energy Grant to Scale-Up Ultra-Low-NOx Hydrogen-Powered Industrial Burner Prototype

Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) and Tulsa-Based ClearSign Technologies Corporation have been awarded more than $1.6 million from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to scale up an ultra-low-NOx hydrogen-powered industrial burner prototype, and introduce this technology to industries in Southern California.

Visit our newsroom to read more.

Boyle Heights' Los STEMateros Places 13 in World Finals at Hydrogen Grand Prix Competition

The team is one of 10 Title 1 LAUSD high school teams sponsored by SoCalGas' Research, Development and Demonstration (RD&D) program and placed 13 out of 26 high school teams from across the globe at the 2023 Horizon Hydrogen Grand Prix (H2GP) World Finals.

Visit our newsroom to read more.

Project Awards

DOE Announces $126 Million for Small Businesses to Pursue Clean Energy Research and Development |

On August 25th, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) announced 106 awards totaling $126 million in research and development grants for 90 different small businesses. Under this award announcement, ClearSign Technologies Corporation received $1,650,000 to develop and demonstrate an innovative process burner that can operate on hydrogen and natural gas blends while maintaining ultra-low NOx emissions in Southern California. This fuel-flexible technology enables high-heat industries to transition to cleaner energy sources seamlessly, promoting decarbonization and environmentally friendly industrial operations. SoCalGas RD&D will provide up to $500,000 in cost-share to support this research. 

More information can be found here.

Susteon Thermo-Catalytic Co-Production of Hydrogen and High-Value Carbon Products from Natural Gas Using Structured Materials   

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced a 3rd round of awards for projects in “Clean Hydrogen Production, Storage, Transport and Utilization to Enable a Net-Zero Carbon Economy.” In this round of awards, Susteon Inc., in collaboration with Stanford University and Rice University, received $1.875M (including up to $375k from SoCalGas RD&D) to develop and demonstrate a novel methane pyrolysis process that utilizes low-carbon renewable electricity to produce high-value carbon and hydrogen. The proposed process enables efficient separation of solid carbon particles, which is a key challenge of methane pyrolysis and can help significantly offset the cost of hydrogen production.

More information can be found here.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) High-Speed, High-Volume, and Cost-Effective Manufacturing of Intermediate Temperature Electrolyzer Cells 

ORNL was awarded a grant by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to develop a novel high-speed, high-volume, cost-effective manufacturing platform for fabricating protonic ceramic electrolyzer cells (PCECs), a type of intermediate temperature solid-oxide electrochemical cell (SOEC) for hydrogen production. When compared against state-of-the-art SOEC manufacturing practices, these improvements could realize up to 50% reduction in SOEC capital cost and a 10X increase in manufacturing throughput. SoCalGas RD&D will provide this project up to $700,000 while leveraging the DOE grant and other resources from project participants totaling $1,150,000.

More information can be found here.

Susteon Bench-Scale Development of Promoted High-Capacity Structured Sorbents  

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM) Office announced project award selections to develop technology to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and expand FECM’s carbon management technology portfolio. In one of the awarded projects, Susteon Inc. will continue development of a promoted sorbent material that has the potential to significantly increase the efficiency of direct air capture technology. SoCalGas RD&D will provide this project with up to $375,000 while leveraging $1,500,000 in DOE funding. 

More information can be found here.

Susteon Green Methanol Production from Atmospheric CO2

Susteon Inc. has also been selected for an award by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM) in the second round of the Carbon Management funding opportunity announcement, receiving $500,000 in funding (with up to $100,000 from SoCalGas RD&D) to develop an integrated process that produces methanol from water and CO2 captured from the atmosphere by Sustaera’s direct air capture (DAC) technology. Transforming carbon dioxide from the atmosphere into synthetic, low-carbon products such as methanol may reduce or offset DAC costs while reducing the use of fossil-sourced chemicals. In this project, Susteon aims to demonstrate the feasibility of this system to achieve the target cost of under $800/metric ton using a 10 kg methanol/day bench-scale integrated operation. 

More information can be found here.

Hydrogen Blending and Lower Oxides of Nitrogen Emissions in Gas-Fired Generation  
On July 20th, the California Energy Commission (CEC) announced that two projects supported by SoCalGas RD&D were awarded sizeable grants under the “Hydrogen Blending and Lower Oxides of Nitrogen Emissions in Gas-Fired Generation” (HyBLOX) funding opportunity. The purpose of the HyBLOX solicitation is to fund technology development and demonstration of emissions-mitigating technologies and gas-fired power generation technologies that can run efficiently on high blends of hydrogen in the fuel stream while mitigating greenhouse gas and oxides of nitrogen emissions. 

More information on the funding opportunity and the awards below can be found here.  

HyBLOX1 - Noble Thermodynamics Argon Power Cycle System with Blended Hydrogen Development

With up to $500,000 in cost-share from SoCalGas RD&D and over $4,200,000 provided by the CEC, Noble Thermodynamic Systems (NTS) will develop a fuel flexible reciprocating engine capable of operating on H2/natural gas blends greater than 30% and up to 100% H2. NTS’ technology is a modified reciprocating engine cycle that substitutes argon over nitrogen-rich air as the working fluid in a closed-loop breathing cycle. The cycle works by combusting a blend of oxygen, fuel, and argon. The engine exhaust is routed through a polymeric membrane system, where 100% of the CO2 is extracted and the argon exhaust stream is recycled for re-use. The proposed technology has the potential to offer improved operational efficiency and emit zero GHG and NOx emissions during operation.  

HyBLOX2 – Enchanted Rock Hydrogen Blended Reciprocating Engine Development 

SoCalGas has committed to provide this project up to $200,000 in cost share and over $2,000,000 by the CEC. Enchanted Rock will develop a fuel-flexible reciprocating engine capable of operating on H2/natural gas blends greater than 30% and up to 100% H2. This system has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by incorporating higher blends of hydrogen into reciprocating engines, and the potential to maintain power-generating performance while limiting emissions to meet CARB certification requirements.   

Recently Completed Projects

Read about all projects that were completed in the last quarter. 


Visit the RD&D Webpage for our Annual Report and other important resources.

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Please note this newsletter is provided for informational purposes only, and SoCalGas makes no express or implied warranty or commitment with respect to the subject matter of the proposal. Participation of SoCalGas in any funding related to the subject proposal will be at its discretion and contingent upon the continued funding of the SoCalGas RD&D program through its current General Rate Case and any requirements from the California Public Utilities Commission. The commitment of SoCalGas to provide any funding related to the subject proposal is also subject to finalization (to the mutual satisfaction of the parties) of all the terms and conditions of a legally binding agreement between the participants.

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