LANCASTER – Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris met with the Consul General of Japan recently to discuss joining the global effort in the creation of a “Hydrogen Society” to decrease greenhouse emissions, pollution, and provide cleaner air.
In a “Hydrogen Society,” cities and countries commit to low-cost, zero-emission production of hydrogen, and use new and existing infrastructure to distribute it for applications in transportation, heating, and power generation. This, in turn, reduces greenhouse gases which cause pollution and trap more and more heat into the atmosphere, resulting in a warmer Earth.
Akira Muto, Japan’s General Consul in Los Angeles, reached out to Parris for his leadership in effecting a global hydrogen-powered society, according to a news release from the city of Lancaster.
“In 2010, Lancaster committed to becoming the first ‘Net Zero’ energy city in the world and achieved that goal in 2019 – meaning that Lancaster now generates more clean energy than it consumes,” Parris said. “In fact, Lancaster boasts more than $1 billion of investment in solar power generation plants.”
Lex Heslin, Senior Project Developer for Hitachi Zosen Inova’s anaerobic digestion plants in the U.S., worked with the city of Lancaster a decade ago to develop one of the first solar plants in Lancaster. As the interest in photovoltaic energy grew, Heslin and Parris hosted senior leaders from Japanese companies, such as Solar Frontier, which were attracted to local renewable energy opportunities. Heslin also joined Parris on a trip to the United Arab Emirates in 2012 where Parris spoke at the World Future Energy Summit. While in Abu Dhabi, they met with Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization Chairman Kazuo Furukawa to further discuss bringing advanced Japanese technology and investment to Lancaster.
Hitachi Zosen Inova is now developing an anaerobic digestion plant at the Lancaster landfill. Anaerobic digestion is a process that converts food and green waste to compost and either green electricity, hydrogen, or renewable natural gas. It is supported by California SB1383, which requires cities and companies to divert organic waste from landfills to reduce methane emissions. Hitachi’s $100 million anaerobic digestion plant, called LOW-C, will be co-developed with a nearby hydrogen facility using Hitachi’s latest green hydrogen generation technology.
“We are solving a waste and energy problem with the most environmentally friendly technology on earth,” Heslin said.
When asked whether Parris’s lead to advance hydrogen would be copied by other cities, Heslin said “Rex is a prolific ‘doer’ and has the vision and tenacity to bring green hydrogen usage to reality. Strong mayors can sometimes change the world more quickly and more meaningfully than even our national leaders can. Given his successes in the past, it seems like a chance worth taking.”[Information via news release from the city of Lancaster.]