Renewable energy systems specialist ANT Energy Solutions is playing a significant role in a project that could see homes in New South Wales, Australia powered by hydrogen.
At the end of July, H2 View revealed that Jemena had purchased the state’s first electrolyser as part of a $15m trial to produce renewably generated hydrogen gas for use in homes and businesses within the next five years.
Canadian firm Hydrogenics has developed the 500 kilowatt electrolyser, which will be located in Western Sydney, and brought to Australia by ANT Energy Solutions.
ANT Energy Solutions Director Dr. Noel Dunlop said the Jemena project is one of the key demonstrators in Australia, a pivotal project to the continued journey of renewable hydrogen and its acceptance in the mainstream.
“It will help educate the public on how hydrogen can play a role in the energy mix of the future, including helping facilitate hydrogen transport, which is not that far away,” he said.
“This and many more projects are critical steps in bringing Australia up to where the international community already is, including countries such as Germany, the United States and Canada.”
In a Q&A style interview with Dunlop (pictured left), H2 View found out more about ANT Energy Solutions role in the project.
Question: Firstly, can you simply explain what an electrolyser is?
Answer: An electrolyser uses electricity to split water into its components, hydrogen and oxygen. When the electricity is provided by renewable power, there are zero emissions.
Q: So how does it work?
A: Water splits at a given voltage and hydrogen is produced. The amount of hydrogen produced is then dependent on the amount of electricity being put into the system. That is why an electrolyser can be described by the amount of power they use, for example 500kW.
Q: How is this electrolyser technology for New South Wales special/unique?
A: The Jemena electrolyser demonstrates the modularity of ANT and Hydrogenics. The system is a 500kW electrolyser that has the balance of plant to expand to 1MW. This system will enable Jemena’s residential and business customers to access sustainable natural gas with lower emissions thanks to the blending of hydrogen from the electrolyser.
Q: What are the key technology features?
A: Key to the technology being adopted is the latest in PEM electrolyser stacks. These stacks operate between 65 to 75 degrees Celsius and split water into hydrogen and oxygen. Just as important as the world leading Hydrogenics stacks are the safety and control features that capture, dry and transport the hydrogen to storage facilities. These features have allowed Hydrogenics to operate globally with no safety incidents in over 50 years of producing and selling the electrolyser.
Q: Can you tell us more about ANT Energy Solutions involvement in this project?
A: We have been actively developing hardware and software that allows the world leading Hydrogenics electrolysers and fuel cells to work seamlessly with Australian-approved invertors and electrical connections. ANT Energy Solutions is a preferred integrator of Hydrogenics.
Q: What is your company’s expertise in the electrolyser space – internationally and in Australia?
A: Hydrogenics has over 600 electrolysers installed across the globe and are the world leaders in large scale PEM electrolyser stacks. Hydrogenics has the world’s largest standalone stack of 3MW launched last year in Germany. ANT is collaborating and sharing engineering knowledge with Hydrogenics to improve the balance of plant of their world leading electrolyser stacks for Australian applications.
Q: How was the collaborative process working with Jemena?
A: Jemena have worked collaboratively with ANT Energy Solutions, allowing us to develop systems using the world’s leading technologies to meet their needs now, whilst allowing for easy expansion in the future.
Q: What is the potential for hydrogen in Australia?
A: Hydrogen can be used to help decarbonise natural gas, as well as used for transport, industrial applications, to replace remote diesel base power and be a significant export opportunity. Hydrogen will soon be the safe, 100% renewable zero carbon energy source that will be one of the ways to remove the intermittency of renewable power, solar and wind.
Q: What do you think of Jemena’s renewable energy project and ambitions?
A: The Jemena renewable project is 100% supported by ANT Energy Solutions and Hydrogenics. Companies such as Jemena are leading the way in terms of technology demonstration and uptake and is de-risking this for other Australian companies. Their ambitions to offer the public a greener, more sustainable gas now is allowing Australia to catch up with world leaders such as Germany.