Hydrogen Park SA (HyP SA) in Tonsley, one of the first renewable hydrogen plants in Australia, has signed an agreement with leading gas and engineering company BOC to take excess green renewable hydrogen from HyP SA and transport it via tube trailers to industrial customers around the country. Expected to seed a foundation market for the carbon free product and demonstrate its viability, this breakthrough will position the new hydrogen plant facility at Tonsley Innovation District as a major wholesale supplier of renewable hydrogen in Australia.
In the process of commissioning its 1.25 MW electrolyser capable of producing 480 kilograms of green hydrogen a day, HyP SA is, a minimum-five-year, $11.4 million pilot project, developed by Australian Gas Networks (part of the Australian Gas Infrastructure Group (AGIG), with a $4.9 million grant from the South Australian Government’s Renewable Technology Fund.
BOC plans to supply industrial customers in Whyalla and Adelaide with hydrogen output from HyP SA using hydrogen tube trailers, which are generally semi-trailers with hydrogen tanks that vary in length from small tubes to very large size tanks – enabling hydrogen to be road-hauled from a supply site to any destination.
The new Adelaide-based hydrogen supply chain will replace current tube trailer hydrogen deliveries to Whyalla from Victoria, saving approximately 117,000km in annual driving and 122,000 kilograms of carbon emissions per year.
AGIG’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Ben Wilson, said the expansion of the HyP SA facility to supply industry had always been part of the company’s plan for the facility.
“Tube trailers are a well-established form of hydrogen transport. This new renewable hydrogen production source at HyP SA demonstrates the wider potential for this carbon-free gas and its ability to integrate into existing and future energy networks.”
Installation of the tube trailer infrastructure by BOC is expected to be completed by January 2021, with first commercial deliveries to Whyalla commencing shortly afterwards.
Hydrogen is the solar industry’s best friend, because we need renewable electricity and water to make green hydrogen, and that’s a substantial new industry and a substantial new market for the solar industry,” said AGIG’s General Manager of People and Strategy, Craig de Laine.
Currently, HyP SA draws its H2O molecule-splitting energy from the South Australian grid during periods of high solar production and low energy demand; it will help even at this small scale to stabilise the grid when demand drops to unsustainable levels.
“I love thinking about people’s solar, installed on their homes, and using their excess solar, not just to make renewable electricity, but to make carbon-free gas,” says de Laine, “and about the way hydrogen brings the electricity and gas sectors together into a single renewable energy system.”
In addition to supplying hydrogen to industrial users, the Tonsley hydrogen facility supply zero-emissions gas to be blended into the mains gas network. Around 700 homes in the Adelaide suburb of Mitchell Park will receive mains gas with a 5 per cent hydrogen mix, a precursor to AGIG introducing 10% renewable hydrogen by 2030 into its Australia-wide network which provides more than 2 million customers with natural gas.
AGIG’s General Manager of People and Strategy, Craig de Laine, says the company periodically talks to its customers about their customer experience, their preferences and expectations, and 87% have said they expect AGIG to begin decarbonising their gas supplies.
Partly as a result of this feedback, AGIG is leading the Australian Hydrogen Centre Initiative, in partnership with the South Australian and Victorian Governments and other industry players. With ARENA funding, it is developing the technical feasibility plans and pilots it needs in order to safely transition to 100% hydrogen (or hydrogen plus biogas) in its network by 2050.
“We’ve got more than $9 billion invested in pipelines, distribution and storage infrastructure, so clearly this transition is very important for the long-term future of our business,” de Laine said.
South Australia’s Minister for Energy and Mining, Dan Van Horst Pellekan has welcomed today’s HyP SA announcement saying, “This is an Australian-first application of tube trailers to transport renewable hydrogen to industry and will see the local production of green hydrogen to replace brown hydrogen currently imported from the east coast.”
With HyP SA set to start producing green hydrogen, the future brings new and exciting opportunities for carbon-free gas and the wind and solar resources that make it possible.
To join these pioneers of hydrogen innovation, check out our commercial accommodation options and see if your business is a fit for Tonsley Innovation District.