Australia will try to use solar and wind energy to produce hydrogen storage2019-01-02
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has pledged $7.5 million to the Australian energy company Jemena to build a demonstration-scale 500kW cell at its plant in western Sydney, called the H2GO project.
The $15 million, two-year pilot project will connect to Jemena's existing gas network, which supplies natural gas to 1.3 million customers in New South Wales. At a press conference, ARENA stated that hydrogen can be safely added to the natural gas mains at concentrations up to 10% without affecting pipelines, equipment or regulations. Much of the hydrogen produced will be injected into the local gas network for domestic use and will demonstrate the potential for renewable hydrogen storage in the Australian natural gas network.
Jemena's general manager said, “In the future, Australians need to decide how to use excess renewable energy in windy or very sunny days. Jemena's H2GO project will show how existing gas pipeline technology can be stored for weeks and months. Excess renewable energy makes it more efficient than batteries that can store excess renewable energy for minutes or hours."
ARENA CEO said, “As Australia transitions to renewable energy, hydrogen can play an important role as energy storage, and it can also decarbonize natural gas networks through “green” natural gas. The power-gas value chain has great potential, including The ability to stabilize the grid and pair renewable energy with the electrolyzer to absorb and store excess electricity."
In the long run, hydrogen may also become Australia's main export opportunity. Earlier this month, ARENA announced a $22 million investment in research and development funding for hydrogen, supporting 16 research projects at nine Australian universities and research institutions, as hydrogen is seen as a potential major export opportunity.