The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) funding will help the Australian Hydrogen Centre explore the feasibility of blending hydrogen into natural gas networks.
The AHC, which is being driven by AGN., will develop feasibility studies into injecting up to 10 per cent renewable hydrogen into the gas distribution network of one yet to be chosen regional town in South Australia, and two in Victoria.
Building on the feasibility studies for regional towns, the AHC will also develop feasibility studies to inject up to 10 per cent renewable hydrogen into the gas distribution networks of South Australia and Victoria, and develop a pathway to make the transition to 100 per cent hydrogen networks.
In addition, the AHC will share key insights and data from the operations of Australian Gas Networks’ flagship project, the $11.4 million Hydrogen Park South Australia (HyP SA), which is being constructed at Tonsley and is expected to be operational by mid-this year.
It will be Australia’s largest renewable hydrogen production facility, producing hydrogen and blending it into the gas distribution network in suburban Mitchell Park.
The key piece of infrastructure at the Tonsley hydrogen park will be a 1.25MW proton exchange membrane electrolyser, which will use purchased renewable electricity to split water into oxygen and hydrogen gas.
From June, about 710 households in Mitchell Park will use the blended 5 per cent renewable gas – a combination of natural gas and renewable hydrogen.
The AHC has also received funding support from SA’s Department for Energy and Mining and the Victorian Government. Industry partners include energy infrastructure business AusNet Services, and leading renewable energy companies, ENGIE and Neoen.
The ARENA grant will cover about 30 per cent of the estimated cost of $4.15 million to complete the AHC work program by January 2022.
AGN is part of Australian Gas Infrastructure Group (AGIG), which owns and operates one of Australia’s largest gas infrastructure businesses supplying 2 million customers across every mainland state and the Northern Territory.
Last year AGN received a $4.9 million grant from the South Australian Government’s Renewable Technology Fund to help build and operate the HyP SA project.
“AGN, as part of Australia’s broader energy industry, has commenced the new decade with a strategy that aims to deliver substantial, measurable and world-leading outcomes in minimising the current and future carbon footprint across the whole of our national gas distribution business,” chief executive officer Ben Wilson, right, said.
“This public licence also requires total transparency so the studies will provide guidance as to both the best solution to deliver renewable gas into our networks while ensuring full engagement with all stakeholders and consumers about this step-change in Australian energy delivery.
“The 2020s will be an exciting time for the energy industry and consumers. ARENA’s foresight in backing the strategy for a roll-out of more renewably sourced gas in these two key major markets, is to be commended.”
The South Australian Government released its Hydrogen Action Plan in September in a bid to use excess cheap renewable energy to generate hydrogen, which can be used as fuel or to generate electricity at a later time and place.
Other key hydrogen projects utilizing State Government funding underway in South Australia include:
- An $8.7 million facility at the University of South Australia’s Mawson Lakes campus incorporating a solar installation, flow batteries, a hydrogen fuel storage cell stack and thermal energy storage to demonstrate the value of hydrogen storage paired with other new storage technologies.
- H2U is developing a 30MW water electrolysis facility near Port Lincoln using wind and solar to generate up to 18,000 tonnes of green ammonia a year to supply local agriculture and industrial sectors. The plant will also feature two 16 MW open-cycle gas turbines operating 100 per cent on hydrogen at the site to provide electricity generation to the grid during periods of low wind or solar output.
- Neoen Australia is investigating the introduction of a 50MW hydrogen super hub to produce about 25,000kg of hydrogen a day at its proposed Crystal Brook Energy Park in the Mid North of the South Australia.
South Australian Minister for Energy and Mining Dan van Holst Pellekaan, said the Australian Hydrogen Centre was an exciting renewable energy initiative that fitted perfectly with the government’s plan to deliver more reliable, more affordable and cleaner energy.
“Considering South Australia’s enormous wind and solar resources, we have significant natural advantages that can be leveraged to produce, consume and export 100 per cent green hydrogen,” he said.
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