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Chevron to start producing hydrogen at oilfield

Alternative Energy Emerging Technologies

Oil and gas has been produced at the Lost Hills field in the San Joaquin Valley of California for over a century. Now, in a first for Chevron, it is going to take on a further role by converting solar energy into low-carbon hydrogen.

Chevron intends to produce two tons of green hydrogen at the site each day by using solar panels to power electrolysis, a process whereby water molecules are split into their component oxygen and hydrogen atoms.

A novel aspect of the project is that it intends to use non-potable water produced by other operations as a by-product, so no freshwater will be taken out of the environment.

Chevron New Energies’ vice president for hydrogen, Austin Knight, said that Chevron, which also makes lubricant and grease products under the Texaco brand, already supplies low-carbon alternative fuels like renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel. He said that hydrogen could also play a significant role as well, though, adding:

“I’m excited about the scalability of this solution. However, our ability to meet growing hydrogen demand, and help build hydrogen fuelling infrastructure in California to a commercial scale, will be strongly led by state and federal energy policies that promote new lower carbon energy solutions.”

The project is expected to be developed over multiple years. The eventual start of commercial operations will depend on aspects like supportive and flexible energy regulations and legislation, well-timed permitting, the final design and access to the materials needed for the project.

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