$10m for green hydrogen

18/07/2019 - 15:34

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The state government will spend $10 million to push the development of a renewable hydrogen industry for exporting, remote power, fuel cell vehicles and use in gas networks.

$10m for green hydrogen
Atco executives Nancy Southern (left) and Stevan Green with Alannah MacTiernan in Jandakot. Photo: Gabriel Oliveira

The state government will spend $10 million to push the development of a renewable hydrogen industry for exporting, remote power, fuel cell vehicles and use in gas networks.

The announcement came as Atco Australia, which operates the state’s gas distribution network, opened its clean energy innovation hub in Jandakot.

The hub will operate a microgrid with solar power, electrolysis, and hydrogen storage.

Intermittent renewable generation can be used to power a process to turn water into hydrogen, which can then be converted back to water later.

Effectively, hydrogen is being used to store the excess electricity generated for use at other times.

Alternately, hydrogen could be shipped to other markets or transported to remote areas for power production.

Hydrogen is also used in fuel cells for cars.

Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan said hydrogen could be a new industry for Western Australia, and support the world’s transition away from carbon use.

Ms MacTiernan also launched a renewable hydrogen strategy for the state.

"This strategy builds on WA's renewables potential and global reputation as a leading exporter to position WA as a key player in the future energy mix,” she said.

"Hydrogen is a means to export our world-class solar and wind resources, helping our international trading partners to meet their emissions reduction goals, as well as supporting our industries to transition to a lower carbon future and driving a new job-creating industry for our state.

"This is a major opportunity for WA, however it will not occur without significant investment and lead times: this strategy and our Renewable Hydrogen Fund are the first steps down that path.

"We need to build our domestic hydrogen market and our skills base, to drive the transition for our existing industries and capitalise on this opportunity for WA's economy, supporting regional jobs and growth.

Hub

Atco’s project cost $3.6 million, with $1.6 million coming from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

The system will include 300 kilowatts of solar panels, 500 kilowatt hours of batteries, and gas turbines with about 265kW of capacity.

Atco managing director Pat Creaghan said the facility would be used for research and development.

Energy Networks Australia chief executive Andrew Dillon said hydrogen had a lot of potential.

“Projects like this demonstrate the potential hydrogen gas has as a clean energy source for our homes, businesses and transport,” he said.

“Enough solar photovoltaic has been installed to power the energy requirements of the depot with surplus renewable energy stored in an on-site battery or converted to hydrogen gas for later use.

“The hub also demonstrates how gas-powered air-conditioning can be used to provide heating and cooling to the site.”

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