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New $15M Renewable Hydrogen Gas Project in New South Wales

The Sydney Morning Herald reported yesterday that energy company Jemena and ARENA have partnered to develop a hydrogen gas facility in western Sydney.

Once built, the facility will take renewable energy and convert it into hydrogen gas. This gas will be used to meet cooking, heating and hot-water needs of approximately 250 homes.

The project is expected to be operational in 2020.

How Will it Work?

As part of the project, an electrolyser will be built in western Sydney. An electrolyser is a device which splits water into hydrogen and oxygen using electrical energy.

Excess solar and wind power will be used to split the water into hydrogen gas. The gas produced will be stored in Jemena’s New South Wales gas network and from there will be able to be distributed to homes.

The current gas network and infrastructure are sufficient to allow this project. ARENA states in their project outline:

The five year trial will see hydrogen injected and stored in the Jemena Gas Network, Australia’s largest gas distribution network, to demonstrate how existing gas pipeline infrastructure can be repurposed to store excess renewable energy.

What are the Benefits of a Hydrogen Gas Network Powered by Renewables?

The key benefit of this project is that it provides a practical solution to the issue Australia will inevitably face: too much energy being produced by renewable sources and nowhere to store it efficiently.

This project will allow us greater capacity to store excess energy produced from solar and wind power.

The Jemena gas network is “capable of storing as much energy as 8 million Powerwall batteries for weeks or months rather than minutes or hours typical of lithium-ion battery storage.”

The project leaders are also aware that there will be a need for hydrogen refueling stations as alternative energy cars become more and more popular.

Read the full story from the Sydney Morning Herald.

Read ARENA’s project outline here.

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