Construction begins at Hydrogen Park South Australia

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South Australia’s transition to a cleaner energy future has taken another major step forward with the official start of construction at Australian Gas Networks’ (AGN) pioneering hydrogen production facility, Hydrogen Park South Australia (HyP SA). Located at the Tonsley Innovation District, south of Adelaide, the facility will produce green hydrogen that will be blended with natural gas and supplied to nearby homes and businesses via the existing gas network.

With a 1.25 MW proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyzer expected to arrive early next year, hydrogen production at HyP SA is scheduled to start in mid-2020. As part of a five-year demonstration project, the green hydrogen produced at HyP SA will be blended with natural gas and delivered through the existing gas network to more than 700 properties in nearby Mitchell Park at no additional cost to residents.

“At HyP SA we will be building a 1.25MW electrolyzer as the first Australian demonstration project of its scale and size, with small quantities of renewable hydrogen produced and blended into the local gas distribution network next year,” AGN’s Chief Executive Officer Ben Wilson said. The gas networks operator is aiming for a 5% hydrogen blend as the first step to lowering greenhouse gas emissions.

The project is part of AGN’s vision to deliver 100% renewable gas as it continues to actively pursue additional hydrogen projects with a view to blending more hydrogen into its South Australian and other Australian networks. It also plans to explore other opportunities for the green hydrogen including use for industrial customers and transport.

“Many solutions are needed for Australia to meet its emission reduction targets, and that includes gas stepping up to play its part,” said Wilson. “Developing the hydrogen economy will also play a key role and the momentum around hydrogen is building with burgeoning research and development underway.”

On the policy level, a major step toward the creation of a hydrogen economy was made with the recent adoption of the National Hydrogen Strategy, which is expected to pave the way for a hydrogen economy that would enhance Australia’s energy security, create jobs and build an export industry valued in billions. Previously, South Australia had adopted its own Hydrogen Action Plan, looking to leverage its wind, sun, land, infrastructure and skills to be a world-class renewable hydrogen supplier.

“Hydrogen is a fuel of the future and the installation of a 1.25 MW electrolyzer, the largest of its kind in Australia, at the Tonsley Innovation District puts South Australia at the head of pack striving to unlock its commercial potential,” said Minister for Energy and Mining Dan van Holst Pellekaan. “Exporting hydrogen made from South Australia’s abundant sun and wind resources presents a significant economic opportunity for our state and we are working towards creating this new industry.”

The AUD 11.4 million ($7.8 million) HyP SA demonstration project is supported by a AUD 4.9 million grant from the South Australian government. Other major hydrogen projects utilizing state funding include H2U’s Port Lincoln hydrogen and ammonia supply chain demonstrator, Neoen’s hydrogen superhub at Crystal Brook Energy Park, and University of South Australia’s Renewable Energy Testbed, which incorporates a solar array, flow batteries, a hydrogen fuel stack, and thermal energy storage.