Chevron is developing its first solar-to-hydrogen project in the western US, as the energy firm aims to expand its portfolio of lower-carbon solutions.

The company’s subsidiary Chevron New Energies is developing the 5MW hydrogen production project in California’s Central Valley that is expected to create lower-carbon energy by utilising solar power, land, and non-potable produced water from Chevron’s existing assets at the Lost Hills Oil Field in Kern County.

The facility is expected to produce two tonnes of low-carbon intensity hydrogen per day.

Chevron said the development of the project is expected to take a number of  years, and the start of commercial operations will depend on several factors including flexible and supportive legislative and regulatory energy policies, final engineering design, timely permitting, and obtaining the necessary materials.

Austin Knight, vice-president for hydrogen at Chevron New Energies, said: “Hydrogen can play a vital role in our journey toward a lower-carbon future. Chevron already offers lower-carbon fuels like sustainable aviation fuel, renewable diesel and others, and this project is expected to expand the portfolio of solutions Chevron could supply to the region.”

Knight added that the firm’s ability to meet growing hydrogen demand and help build hydrogen fuelling infrastructure in California to a commercial scale with more widespread adoption will be “strongly led by state and federal energy policies that promote new lower-carbon energy solutions”.

Richard Chapman, president and CEO, Kern Economic Development Corporation (EDC), said the project will help develop key technical and commercial proof points as Chevron New Energies assesses concepts for future scale-up and new lower-carbon-intensity hydrogen production opportunities.

Chapman added: “By locating expected production in the Central Valley, we believe the project will be well positioned to meet the demand of customers along an important transportation corridor, as well as having proximity to key California urban markets.”

Kern EDC is a public-private partnership established in 1988 to boost economic activities in Kern County.

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