Public, private partnership in Valley looking to make grilling a little greener

PHOENIX — The summer season usually means firing up the grill for some barbecue and now public and private leaders in the state are partnering to figure out how to make grilling better for the environment.

Southwest Gas and ASU’s Lightworks program are teaming up to blend natural gas and hydrogen to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions that are contributing to climate change.

“One of the things we also see showing up is that people want increasingly cleaner supplies of energy, and so hydrogen can be a part of that clean energy portfolio,” Laura Nelson, vice president of sustainability and public policy for Southwest Gas, told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

Ivan Ermanoksi, an ASU research professor working on the project, said hydrogen is a cleaner energy source because it does not produce carbon dioxide when it burns.

“It produces water vapor and that means that it does not add to the greenhouse gas effects that’s causing climate change,” Ermanoksi said.

Nelson said that is one of the reasons they entered into a partnership with ASU.

“Our pilot is really to work in partnership with Arizona State University to give that good engineering analysis so we have a fact-based approach to how we can utilize and blend hydrogen long-term,” Nelson said.

The two groups during an event at Southwest Gas in Tempe on Friday demonstrated how the mixing of elements worked by using a mixture of 5% hydrogen and 95% natural gas to grill burgers.

Ermanoksi said the team is still in the process of conducting experiments and finding the right balance of hydrogen and natural gas. They are also looking at the effects users of natural gas may see when hydrogen was mixed in.

He added the focus is on the user experience and safety and that the product can be brought to the real world if they can mix hydrogen and natural gas without the user telling a difference.

Ermanoksi hopes the research team will have the results of the experiment within the next couple of weeks.

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