First-of-its-Kind Facility Turns Waste into Hydrogen

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Fitness enthusiast and avid jogger Deli Cole loves to challenge herself both in the gym and the office. The opportunity to help solve some of the energy industry’s biggest challenges drew her to Chevron.

“I was attracted to Chevron because it sought to be a multinational leader in energy,” said Cole, now a hydrogen commercial lead for Chevron New Energies.

“I thrive on reaching further, going faster and really pushing myself. This is a company that wants to compete and be the best, and I share that vision.”

Deli Cole, Chevron New Energies Commercial Lead

Cole and her team are working with two other companies, Raven SR and Hyzon, to commercialize biodegradable waste-to-hydrogen operations through a facility that will be the first of its kind in the world.

How it works

Generally, organic waste in landfills decomposes producing methane and other greenhouse gas emissions. Raven’s process converts that organic waste into a hydrogen-rich syngas, reducing emissions that otherwise would have escaped into the atmosphere.

The Richmond, California, organic green waste is diverted to the production facility and, using a patented, non-combustion process, turns the organic waste into hydrogen-rich syngas and biocarbon (the type of carbon absorbed by plants and soil).

From there, the syngas is polished in a second-stage reformer and then goes through a water gas reactor where the syngas is converted into transportation-grade hydrogen.

“Building hydrogen value chains is no easy feat,” Cole said.“It’s an interesting concept because it’s trying to solve two problems at once,” said Chevron New Energies facilities engineer Robert Marshall. “On one hand, it’s finding a productive use for waste that can be diverted from landfills. On the other, it’s providing lower carbon fuel for passenger vehicles.”

“We are working on some really complex issues—this is tough stuff, and we need to be resilient in the process. We will have both peaks and valleys in our energy transition journey. What we are doing in this space takes courage.”

Deli Cole, Chevron New Energies Commercial Lead
Why it matters

The facility will yield environmental and economic benefits.

  • By removing up to 99 wet tons of waste from a Richmond landfill per day, it will help reduce methane emissions.
  • It will produce up to 4.8 metric tons per day of hydrogen, giving Northern California fueling stations a supply of lower carbon hydrogen for fuel cell vehicles.

“The project will also benefit the community,” said Austin Knight, vice president of hydrogen for Chevron New Energies. “Not only is this collaboration positioned to commercialize a first-of-its-kind lower carbon hydrogen project, Raven’s technology will help to reduce emissions in a community in which we have a long and proud history.”

Who’s on the team

Chevron is collaborating in an initiative to turn plant and food waste into hydrogen through the new, jointly owned company Raven SR S1 LLC.

  • Renewable fuels company Raven SR, which owns the technology, is the developer and will be the operator of the production facility in Richmond, California, which is targeted to come online next year.
  • The third partner, Hyzon, a global supplier of fuel cell electric trucks, plans to use its share of production for refueling hydrogen fuel cell trucks in Northern California.
  • Chevron will hold a 50% equity stake and will market its share of hydrogen to the transportation and mobility segment in Northern California.

Marshall, who is helping oversee the project’s engineering component, said the initiative is a way for companies with different skill sets to solve problems together.

“There are a lot of very interesting and complicated challenges that haven’t been solved or addressed before. That leads to a lot of room for being creative and creates a great opportunity for solving problems.”

Robert Marshall, Chevron New Energies Facilities Engineer

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