A PIONEERING renewable hydrogen production facility being developed in Adelaide today celebrates a construction milestone with the start of installation of its key component, an electrolyser at Hydrogen Park South Australia (HyP SA).
Project developer, Australian Gas Networks (AGN) – part of the Australian Gas Infrastructure Group (AGIG) – welcomed the milestone, saying it provided a visible measure of the Group’s push to establish nation-leading hydrogen projects in four states.
The Siemens 1.25 MW Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) electrolyser being installed at the Tonsley Innovation District, south of Adelaide, will employ electricity from renewable sources to split water into oxygen and hydrogen gas, producing up to 480kg of hydrogen per day. The renewable hydrogen will then be blended with natural gas for feeding into AGN’s existing suburban natural gas networks.
Final site works on the A$11.4m plant, which attracted a A$4.9m grant from the South Australian Government’s Renewable Technology Fund, are near complete with the plant to then enter a final commissioning stage before commercial production of renewable hydrogen commences in Spring 2020.
AGIG’s CEO, Ben Wilson, said the delivery of Australia’s largest electrolyser to site at HyP SA was a significant milestone.
“This project demonstrates Australia’s gas networks are hydrogen ready. HyP SA will be an Australian first to eventually deliver renewable hydrogen made from water, sunshine and wind, to homes and businesses through our existing gas network.
“Importantly, it meets widening community recognition of hydrogen’s benefits, and underlines South Australia’s status as a leader in this emerging industry with real potential to deliver jobs and growth for residential, commercial, industrial and export applications.”
Mr Wilson added that innovative renewable hydrogen projects such as HyP SA illustrate the ability of the nation’s gas networks to meet the decarbonisation challenge – a key in balancing the energy trilemma.
“At AGIG, we are investing in the long-term interests of our customers and the environment. This project paves the way for the commercial deployment of a hydrogen economy as we seek to deploy 10% renewable gas in our networks before shifting to the potential conversion of entire networks”.
South Australia’s Minister for Energy and Mining, the Dan van Holst Pellekaan, said HyP SA is an exciting renewable hydrogen generation project showcasing to the world how electrolysers can integrate gas and electricity networks to support whole of system energy stability, particularly as more renewable electricity generation capacity comes onto the grid.
“It will additionally demonstrate the feasibility of blending hydrogen into the broader South Australian gas network and inform the South Australian Government’s planning on how we transition to a low- carbon gas distribution network,” he said.
Once operational, more than 700 residences in parts of the Adelaide suburb of Mitchell Park will be the first recipients of the plant’s blended 5% renewable gas.
AGIG has already announced plans for a similar plant in Gladstone, Queensland; is developing detailed plans to introduce hydrogen into gas networks in both Victoria and South Australia through the Australian Hydrogen Centre; and has won Western Australian Government backing to assess how hydrogen can be introduced into the AGIG-operated Dampier to Bunbury natural gas pipeline in WA – arguably the country’s single most significant energy infrastructure asset.