ATCO Begins Testing Blending Hydrogen into the Gas Network

By December 20, 2019 2   min read  (338 words)

December 20, 2019 |

ATCO’s Clean Energy Innovation Hub has hit a major milestone this week, blending renewable – or ‘green’ – hydrogen into the on-site natural gas network for use throughout our Jandakot depot.

Officially opened in July this year, the industry-leading Clean Energy Innovation Hub is a test bed for hybrid energy solutions and integrates natural gas, solar PV, battery storage and hydrogen production.

The successful blending, and use of the blend to run natural gas appliances – including cooktops and gas powered air conditioning –  is the first step in continued testing around the potential of hydrogen to reduce the natural gas network’s carbon footprint.

President of ATCO’s Gas Division in Australia, Stevan Green (pictured), said it was an exciting milestone, but by no means the end of the journey.

“We established the Hub to investigate the role hydrogen could play in the future energy mix, and to generate insights into how our gas distribution network can continue to benefit customers into the future,” he said.

“While we know that in WA natural gas provides a more affordable and less carbon-intensive energy option than grid-supplied electricity, we also know a cleaner energy future is important.

“We’ll continue to work to make that future a reality.”

The Clean Energy Innovation Hub draws on ATCO’s established expertise in natural gas as we work to transition the network to a potential future energy mix, which may include a blend of natural gas, biogas and hydrogen.

The Hub uses electricity generated through 1,000 solar panels to provide the energy required to run ATCO’s Jandakot Operation Centre. Excess energy is used to charge the onsite batteries, and once they are fully charged, powers an electrolyser which splits water into hydrogen and oxygen, venting the oxygen and storing the hydrogen for a variety of uses.

The project received $1.6 million in funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) as part of the Advancing Renewables Program, which has allowed for testing different combinations of energy blends and integrating natural gas, solar, battery storage and hydrogen.

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