As Australia develops hydrogen industries in every state, it’s worth also looking at the potential of another future fuel, biomethane, to deliver our net-zero energy needs.
It’s going to be great to be back at a face-to-face APGA Convention this September.
The convention gives the whole industry a much-needed chance to share ideas and make new connections. There couldn’t be a better time for our industry to come together as 2022 has seen some massive shifts in the global and Australian energy markets and the northern hemisphere winter hasn’t even started yet. We can expect more upheaval as the energy needs of Europe pick up with colder weather, and all major upheavals bring innovation. This is already happening faster than any of us could have predicted with the development of hydrogen and biomethane.
As Anna Collyer, Chair of the Australian Energy Market Commission and the Energy Security Board put it bluntly in her latest speech: “Before the market suspension, hydrogen was important. Now? I won’t hesitate to call it urgent.”
But as our gas markets come under pressure from global forces and disruption in the electricity market, let’s not forget the size of the innovation challenge we now face. Our gas networks provide more energy in Australia than electricity and our industry will need to supply that energy need with safe, reliable and secure renewable gas while saving the 12 per cent of Australia’s carbon emissions that come from using natural gas.
But innovation can bring benefits. APGA’s latest report from Frontier Economics shows that enabling renewable gas in existing infrastructure can deliver a system wide cost benefit over the direct electrification pathway to reducing those emissions. Australia can create renewable gas networks that will provide reliable and secure energy that our economy and export partners can rely on.
Our research is already developing new knowledge for the industry to make these reliable, safe and secure networks a reality. We are progressing the testing of steel transmission assets, plastic distribution pipes and appliance end-use with hydrogen/natural gas blends. We are also progressing the economics, social license and network lifecycle research our industry will need to build business cases and reach investment decisions for the next generation of renewable gas projects.
To use hydrogen in new and existing high pressure transmission infrastructure in Australia it needs to be reliable, cost effective and safe. A key aspect of achieving this goal, is the development of standards and guidelines that both address the unique demands of hydrogen service and support its future adoption within our well established AS2885 standards series.
To achieve this, we are developing with our core transmission partners, a new Code of Practice to provide guidance and recommended practice for the design, construction and operation of transmission pipelines for the intended purpose of transporting gaseous hydrogen or blends of hydrogen and hydrocarbon fluids, including in steel and high-pressure composite materials.
The Hydrogen Pipelines Code of Practice will consolidate current knowledge, with a specific focus on hydrogen fluid compatibility with pipeline materials and differences compared to hydrocarbon fluids. Where effects are not sufficiently defined or understood in current knowledge, the Code of Practice will recommend design and operating envelopes based on the current knowledge and assessment methods available
At the convention I’ll be speaking about the Code of Practice and the wider progress our research has made to make hydrogen and biomethane a reality in Australia’s energy networks. You’ll also be able find our team at our stand in the expo and I encourage everyone to drop in a learn more about the future of our industry. This year has been extraordinary and it shows we all need to be ready for the future.
You can find the latest on all Future Fuels CRC research at futurefuelscrc.com.
This article is featured in the September edition of The Australian Pipeliner.