ATCO has unveiled its $3.6 million Clean Energy Innovation Hub in Jandakot, Western Australia.
The Australian Pipeliner was on hand for the official opening of the facility, which was attended by WA Minister for Energy Bill Johnston, Minister for Regional Development and Chair of the Renewable Hydrogen Council Alannah MacTiernan and WA Chief Scientist Professor Peter Klinken.
ATCO’s hub will investigate the potential role of hydrogen in the future energy mix, with operations to include testing different combinations of energy blends and integrating natural gas, as well as examining the role hydrogen could play in hybrid microgrids and as a future balancing fuel to support WA’s electricity grid.
The ATCO centre includes a mock street to provide real life energy usage experiences on site, as well as a training centre for gas supply and industry operations.
ATCO Chair and CEO Nancy Southern said the full potential of hydrogen had yet to be realised.
“We’ve been able to provide this entire site with a solar load and store energy in a battery,” she said.
“That energy is being used with water in the electrolysis process to produce hydrogen and vent oxygen.
“The next step is to use a closed system using the pipes to provide hydrogen energy to appliances, heating and lighting in a home that’s on site.
“That will be our first test.”
Minister MacTiernan said hydrogen was a very prospective industry for WA and the state government would continue to push its growth.
“We’ve got so much natural advantage in this state to become real players in the renewable hydrogen industry,” she said.
“We have a long history of skills and trading relationships with people that want us to supply them with renewable hydrogen, such as Japan, Korea and Singapore.”
“We can be a big player in this industry worldwide.”
Minister MacTiernan said WA’s natural gas industry would help facilitate the growth of hydrogen, with a number of potential uses for the energy source on the horizon.
“This is not seen as a threat to natural gas, in fact that natural gas will be very much part of the transition program,” she said.
“But we will ultimately have this option of providing totally green exports to our trading partners and of using hydrogen to blend with natural gas.
“An extraordinary opportunity in WA is in remote operations.
“Mining companies are very seriously looking at the opportunity for powering remote mine sites from hydrogen that’s produced on the spot.”
A $10 million fund is included in the WA Government’s hydrogen push, allocated to assist with new hydrogen projects as well as the formation of a dedicated unit to address regulatory issues.
ATCO’s project has already benefited from outside funding, with $1.6 million received from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).
ATCO services approximately 760,000 customers in WA and through a network of pipelines spanning 14,000 km.
For more information visit the ATCO website.
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