Green hydrogen innovation hub to be built in WA

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Australia’s first green hydrogen innovation hub will be built in Western Australia after receiving $1.5 million in funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

ATCO’s Clean Energy Innovation Hub (CEIH), located in Jandakot, will be used to 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 managing director and chief operating officer Pat Creaghan said securing the grant was a major accomplishment.

“We intend to play a leading role in the development of forward-thinking, clean energy solutions, and our CEIH is at the very heart of those plans,” Mr Creaghan said.

“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.”

ATCO aims to assess the practicalities of replacing natural gas with hydrogen at a citywide 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 distributed energy hybrid 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 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,” he said.

“Along with ARENA’s R&D funding round focussed 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.”

The CEIH is expected to be fully operational in 2019 with first results from the microgrid expected to be available later that year.