(ARENA), the Australian renewable energy agency, has pledged A $7.5 million to Jemena, an Australian energy company, to build a demonstration scale 500kW cell called the H2GO project at its plant in western Sydney.
The A $15 million two-year pilot will connect to Jemena's existing gas network, which supplies gas to 1.3 million customers in New South Wales. At a press conference, ARENA said hydrogen could be safely added to the gas mains at concentrations as high as 10% without affecting pipelines, equipment or regulations. The bulk of the hydrogen generated will be fed into the local gas network for domestic use and will demonstrate the potential for renewable hydrogen storage in Australia's natural gas network.
"in the future Australians will need to decide how to use excess renewable energy on windy or very sunny days," said the company's managing director. Jemena's H2GO project will show how existing gas pipeline technology can store weeks and months of excess renewable energy, making it more efficient than batteries that can store only minutes or hours of excess renewable energy. "
"as Australia moves towards renewable energy, hydrogen storage will play an important role, and natural gas networks can also be decarbonised through 'green' natural gas," the chief executive said. The electricity-gas value chain has great potential, including the ability to stabilize the grid and match renewable energy sources with electrolyzers to absorb and store excess electricity. "
In the long run, hydrogen is also likely to be a major export opportunity for Australia. Earlier this month, ARENA announced A $22 million in R & D funding for hydrogen exports, supporting 16 research projects in nine Australian universities and research institutions because hydrogen is seen as a potential major export opportunity.
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