Richmond waste-to-hydrogen project moves forward with Chevron investment  

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Raven’s planned waste-to-hydrogen facility in Richmond
A Hyzon Motors zero-emissions hydrogen fuel cell powered truck posted outside the Craneway Pavilion in Richmond during Road to Zero Day on Thursday, Aug. 25, 2022. (Photo credit: Kathy Chouteau)

A pioneering plant that will turn waste from a Richmond landfill into hydrogen is targeted to come online in the first quarter of 2024, thanks in part to additional investments in the project by Chevron New Energies and Hyzon Motors.  

Raven SR is a renewable fuels company that uses a patented steam/CO2 reforming process to transform waste such as municipal solid waste, organic waste and methane into hydrogen that will supply a fast-growing hydrogen fuel infrastructure for commercial and passenger cars, trucks and ferries. The process involves no combustion, producing fewer emissions, according to the company.  

Raven’s planned waste-to-hydrogen facility in Richmond, set to be constructed at Republic Services’ West Contra Costa Sanitary Landfill, is expected to divert up to 99 wet tons of green and food waste per day from the landfill, while producing up to 2,400 metric-tons per year of renewable hydrogen, which is considered a key component in the Bay Area’s energy transition.   

The waste diversion will help meet California SB 1383 organic waste disposal reduction targets and will potentially avoid up to 7,200 metric-tons per year of CO2 emissions from the landfill, according to Raven SR. The facility will also reportedly use no fresh water and is expected to produce at least 60 percent of its own electricity.  

In 2021, Chevron, Hyzon, ITOCHU Corporation and Ascent Hydrogen Fund provided Raven SR with a combined $20 million strategic investment. The following year, Samsung Ventures also became a strategic investor in the company.

In the latest funding announcement, Raven SR, Chevron and Hyzon are investing a combined $50 million into the hydrogen project in Richmond, which will be Raven SR’s first.

Rendering of Raven’s planned waste-to-hydrogen facility in Richmond, courtesy of Raven SR.

Raven’s Richmond facility will help provide hydrogen to what is shaping up to be a growing hydrogen fueling infrastructure in the Bay Area and beyond. Separately, Chevron has previously announced plans for 30 hydrogen fueling sites that will be constructed at Chevron-branded retail locations across California by 2026.  

Chevron is partnering with Iwatani Corp. on the hydrogen fueling sites, one of which is proposed to be located in the Richmond area. The development of new hydrogen fueling infrastructure will be critical for the region’s growing logistics and fulfillment centers, such as the future FedEx fulfillment center on Parr Boulevard that, according to project proponents, aims to lead the nation in the fastest transition to zero-emission trucks. Hyzon, which supplies fuel cell electric commercial vehicles globally, plans to provide refueling for hydrogen fuel cell trucks at the waste-to-hydrogen facility in Richmond, according to Raven.  

The Chevron Richmond facility recently underwent a $1 billion modernization that included construction of one of the most modern and efficient hydrogen plants in the West Coast. 

Raven’s Richmond project is poised to accelerate the building of similar hydrogen production facilities globally, according to Raven CEO Matt Murdock.  

“By removing waste from the landfill, it will help reduce methane emissions,” Murdock said. “Not only will the greater Richmond community benefit from reduced emissions, investments, and jobs, it will also see economic benefits as local gas stations have a consistent supply of clean, zero-carbon hydrogen fuel for fuel cell vehicles.”  

Chevron officials expressed excitement about the collaboration and expanded commitment to Raven and its waste-to-hydrogen technology. 

“Not only are we positioned to commercialize a first-of-its-kind lower carbon hydrogen project, we are working to reduce emissions in a community in which we have a long and proud history,” said Austin Knight, VP of Hydrogen for Chevron New Energies. “With a relatively short lead time, we will be able to further develop the hydrogen ecosystem in the region.”