Australian energy firm Jemena is partnering with the national Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) on a $15 million trial project to create hydrogen gas from solar and wind power.
If successful, the resulting fuel would then be stored for use across the Jemena Gas Network in New South Wales. Hydrogen is carbon-neutral and produces water when used as a fuel source.
A 500-KW electrolyser will be built in western Sydney as part of Project H2GO, Jemena Managing Director Frank Tudor said in a statement. The facility will be able to generate enough hydrogen to power about 250 homes, according to the company release.
The electrolysis, powered by the renewable energy, would use current to create hydrogen from water.
“In the future Australians will need to decide what to do with excess renewable energy on very windy or very sunny days,” Tudor said. “Jemena’s Project H2GO will demonstrate how existing gas pipeline technology can store excess renewable energy for weeks and months, making it more efficient than batteries which can only store excess renewable energy for minutes or hours.
“Our trial will also explore how hydrogen can be used to power Australians who are on the move, with a hydrogen refuelling station being developed to support the burgeoning hydrogen-vehicle industry.”
It is estimated Jemena’s New South Wales gas network–which delivers gas to 1.3 million customers–is capable of storing as much energy as eight million Powerwall batteries without further investment or network augmentation.
Tudor added Jemena’s Project H2GO lays the foundations for a renewable energy grid which would take advantage of Australia’s abundant renewable resources.
“Australia has established solar and wind powered industries, and this trial will leverage off this as we develop a hydrogen industry. It will be very exciting to explore the benefits for customers and how these could be rolled out more broadly across our NSW gas network, and potentially, across Australia, in the future.”