South Australia gives green light for hydrogen production facility

South Australia gives green light for hydrogen production facility

Homes in Adelaide, Australia are one step closer to being powered by renewable hydrogen following the South Australian Government’s approval for Australian Gas Networks (AGN) to install an electrolyser.

AGN, part of the Australian Gas Infrastructure Group (AGIG) revealed the news today and said the approval paved the way for construction to begin on the A$11.4m ($7.7m) hydrogen production facility – Hydrogen Park SA (HyP SA), with first production of hydrogen targeted for mid-2020.

Located in the Tonsley Innovation District, the facility will include a 1.25MW electrolyser, which will produce renewable hydrogen from electricity.

The renewable hydrogen will then be blended with natural gas and supplied to 710 customers in southern areas of Mitchell Park via the existing natural gas network.

AGN said renewable hydrogen will comprise no more than 5% of the total blended renewable gas volume and customers will not notice any difference in their gas supply.

AGN also said the characteristics of the blended 5% renewable gas are consistent with the Australian Standard for natural gas supply.

“This is a significant milestone in South Australia’s continuing transition to a cleaner energy future, AGN’s CEO Ben Wilson said.

“It propels the state’s status as a leader in renewable technology and a first mover in hydrogen.”

Wilson said the HyP SA project also represents the first towards decarbonising South Australia’s gas networks.

“The decarbonisation challenge is huge and many solutions are needed for Australia to meet its emission reduction targets, and that includes gas stepping up to play its part,” he said.

“Developing the hydrogen economy will also play a key role and the momentum around hydrogen is building with burgeoning research and development underway.”

“Commercial hydrogen production is achievable and can decarbonise Australia’s energy mix while at the same time accessing export markets.”

“Australia – including South Australia – is ideally placed for hydrogen export to North Asia.”

South Australia’s Minister for Energy and Mining, Dan van Holst Pellekaan, said the facility is a key component of the government’s plans for renewable hydrogen.

“The release of our Hydrogen Action Plan this week shows we’re committed to growing hydrogen exports from South Australia, creating jobs and pushing renewable hydrogen into our energy mix,” said the Minister.

“This is a significant step forward towards an affordable and reliable renewable energy future for South Australia.”

Whilst natural gas is already a low-carbon option for homes and businesses, the blending of renewable hydrogen provides an opportunity to reduce carbon emissions even further.

The new blended 5% renewable gas is not the first-time hydrogen has been used in Adelaide homes. Before natural gas pipelines were laid in the 1960s, Adelaide properties ran on ‘town gas’ which was manufactured from coal and typically comprised 50-60% hydrogen.

Hydrogen is already in use in parts of Europe as a blended residential gas for cooking, hot water and heating, varying between 10% and 20% of total gas content.

This project is a first step in AGN’s vision to deliver 100% renewable gas. AGN is also actively pursuing additional hydrogen projects with a view to blending more hydrogen into its South Australian and other Australian networks.

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