An exciting new project will be trialled in South Australia to test whether excess renewable energy could be used to split water molecules, producing cheap hydrogen to supplement existing natural gas supplies.
The project, which is being supported by a $5 million grant from the Turnbull Government through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, will see AquaHydrex manufacture and deploy a new class of electrolyser.
In a process known as “power-to-gas”, the resulting hydrogen will be injected into the South Australian gas grid in partnership with Australian Gas Networks at a depot in Adelaide, supplementing the existing natural gas supply.
The trial not only further supports Australia’s gas supply, but also demonstrates the benefits of using excess renewable energy for electrolysis as a long-term energy storage option.
The development of this process is the culmination of years of research at the University of Wollongong and Monash University.
The project is a leap forward as existing methods of producing hydrogen rely on electricity derived from fossil fuels and expensive materials, such as platinum and other rare earth elements, to drive the process. That means, it is very energy and carbon intensive to produce.
This new technology will harness renewable energy and utilise ultra-efficient and low cost electrolysis to produce hydrogen, providing a scalable and affordable energy storage option that integrates with our national gas infrastructure.
By supporting innovative new solutions like this the Turnbull Government’s investment in this trial will help deliver an affordable and reliable energy system as we transition to a lower emissions future.