Australia’s first test facility to trial 100 per cent hydrogen has been welcomed by the energy industry as it prepares for hydrogen use by appliances and in existing gas distribution networks.
Energy Networks Australia CEO, Andrew Dillon, who spoke at the launch of Evoenergy’s Hydrogen Test Facility in Canberra, said hydrogen offered the prospect of zero-emission energy supplies and energy storage capacity to back up renewable power, utilising existing gas networks.
“Hydrogen is carbon-free and can be produced from excess renewable energy, for example during sunny and windy days when generation is high and demand is low,” Mr Dillon said.
“This offers a stable, carbon-free energy resource that can be stored for use on demand.
“We know from our work with the CSIRO on the 2018 National Hydrogen Roadmap that hydrogen represents significant and exciting opportunities for Australia, well beyond its potential as an export fuel.”
Evoenergy and the Canberra Institute of Technology partnered to build the Hydrogen Test Facility to understand how hydrogen gas could be used in the future to power homes using the existing natural gas network.
While many gas networks are embarking on hydrogen-related projects, the Evoenergy Hydrogen Test Facility will be the first in the country to test up to 100 per cent hydrogen in household appliances.
The use of hydrogen as a household energy resource aligns with the ‘green energy’ target set by the ACT Government to reduce emissions to zero by 2045.
The need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions has seen hydrogen plans developed throughout the world.
In Europe particularly, hydrogen is growing as an energy source and as a transport fuel, with the world’s first hydrogen passenger train now operating in Germany.
Hydrogen in Australia could eventually be used for domestic cooking, heating and hot water, for powering passenger vehicles and even public transport.
“As the Gas Vision 2050 report has demonstrated, hydrogen’s scope is impressive, with potential to widen a customer’s power options, improve and increase renewable generation and even create a new energy export market,” Mr Dillon said.
“Perhaps best of all, the sophisticated, intricate infrastructure needed for hydrogen technology already exists for us in Australia — our natural gas networks.
“Most of Australia’s gas distribution networks are compatible with hydrogen and could deliver better outcomes for Australian households and businesses, the environment and the economy,” Mr Dillon said.
“I congratulate Evoenergy and its partners who are instrumental to the innovation this facility supports.”
Lauren Butler is the assistant editor for Utility Magazine. She’s based in Melbourne, Australia.