Australia’s first hydrogen innovation hub announced

Western Australia will soon be home to the country’s first green hydrogen innovation hub, with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) announcing that the project will be based in Jandakot.

In Jandakot, gas distribution company ATCO gas (ATCO) will trial the production, storage and use of renewable hydrogen to energise a commercial-scale microgrid, testing the use of hydrogen in different settings and applications including in household appliances.

The $3.3 million development project will evaluate the potential for renewable hydrogen to be generated, stored and used at a larger scale. ATCO aims to assess the practicalities of replacing natural gas with hydrogen at a city-wide scale across a municipality.

Green hydrogen will be produced from on-site solar using electrolysis, fuelling a range of gas appliances and blending hydrogen into the natural gas pipeline.

The project will also build upon ATCO’s hybrid distributed energy system trial called GasSola, which includes the installation of rooftop solar with battery storage and standby natural gas generation for nine residential sites in Western Australia’s south west.

ARENA CEO, Ivor Frischknecht, said the ATCO trial could lead to hydrogen being used more widely across Australia.

“Green hydrogen offers opportunities to provide carbon free energy to cities and towns, while leveraging existing natural gas infrastructure,” Mr Frischknecht said.

“Along with ARENA’s research and development funding round focused on exporting hydrogen, this project will explore the opportunities for hydrogen in Australia, which could also include the development of standards for green hydrogen production, distribution and use.”

ATCO Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer, Pat Creaghan, said, “Securing this grant is a major accomplishment. We intend to play a leading role in the development of forward-thinking, clean energy solutions, and our Clean Energy Innovation Hub is at the very heart of those plans. The project has many exciting elements, but what truly sets it apart is the use of excess renewable energy, which would typically be lost to the system, to produce hydrogen.”

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