The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced over $7 million in funding for a trial to produce hydrogen using renewable energy production and inject it into Sydney’s gas network.
ARENA has committed $7.5 million in funding for private firm Jemena to build a demonstration scale 500 kW electrolyser at its facility in western Sydney.
The $15 million project – known as Project H2GO – will connect to Jemena’s existing gas network which delivers gas to 1.3 million customers in New South Wales.
The two-year trial - the largest of its kind in Australia - involves converting solar and wind power into renewable hydrogen via electrolysis; the process by which electricity is used to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.
The electrolyser will produce hydrogen to be stored in the natural gas network to demonstrate and address the technical, regulatory, environmental and economic barriers to the production and use of hydrogen in various Australian conditions.
The majority of the hydrogen produced will be injected in the local gas network for domestic use and demonstrate the potential for renewable hydrogen storage in Australia’s gas networks.
A portion of the hydrogen will be utilised via a gas engine generator for electricity generation back into the grid with the remaining stored for use in an onsite Hydrogen Refuelling Station for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
ARENA CEO Darren Miller said hydrogen had huge potential to store renewable energy and supplement natural gas use.
“As Australia transitions to renewable energy, hydrogen could play an important role as energy storage and also has the effect of decarbonising the gas network with ‘green’ gas,” he said.