ATCO believes Australia’s gas distribution network will play a key role in the future energy mix, bringing natural gas and new ‘clean’ gas, including hydrogen, to customers playing a central role in reducing energy costs and carbon emissions and an ideal complement to intermittent renewable energy like wind and solar.
To further explore this concept, ATCO developed an industry leading ATCO Hydrogen Microgrid, known as Clean Energy Innovation Hub (CEIH), based at the company’s Jandakot Operations facility in Western Australia.
The Clean Energy Innovation Hub is now fully operational.
How the project works
The ATCO Hydrogen Microgrid project incorporates the production, storage and use of hydrogen, as well as the commercial application of clean energy in micro-grid systems.
The CEIH integrates renewable hydrogen created by water electrolysis – using solar energy to separate hydrogen molecules from water. The hydrogen is captured and injected into a micro-grid system at the Jandakot facility. Some of the safety and technical challenges tackled by the CEIH project included optimising hydrogen storage solutions, blending hydrogen with natural gas and using hydrogen a direct use fuel.
Report: Clean Energy Innovation Hub
The purpose of this project is to demonstrate the seamless integration of renewable energy assets and hydrogen can be safely and efficiently introduced into the natural gas distribution system that will contain hydrogen levels beyond those in the current gas specification.
Area of innovation
Approximately 1000 solar panels have been installed at the Jandakot Operations Centre, capable of generating 300kW of power, which is approximately two and half times the daily power requirements of the facility.
The CEIH’s design stores 500kWh of energy in batteries, with excess renewable energy utilised to power an electrolyser for the production of hydrogen which can be stored or injected into the micro-grid for testing, as a direct fuel or blended with natural gas. The use of excess renewable energy, which has traditionally been lost, sets this project apart from other hydrogen trials currently underway in Australia.
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