• First hydrogen production plant built in Adelaide for South Australia
  • ‘SA will now have a local supply of green hydrogen readily available for energy projects, storage, mobility and more’
  • Gladstone hydrogen plant to open in 2022, more in three other Australian states

Hydrogen continues to make inroads into Australia’s energy market with Australian Gas Networks to open shortly a new $11.4m hydrogen production plant in Adelaide – the first in South Australia.

The plant at the Hydrogen Park South Australia in Adelaide’s Tonsley Innovation district is undergoing testing before its starts to produce a blend of hydrogen and natural gas for supply into the local gas network before year end.

Similar hydrogen plants are planned by Australian Gas Networks in four other Australian states, and the Adelaide plant is the first to reach production stage.

Plant developer Australian Gas Networks is part of the Australian Gas Infrastructure Group, a gas pipeline company that operates the Dampier-Bunbury pipeline in WA and is owned by Hong Kong-listed CK Group.

“This new renewable hydrogen production source at Hydrogen Park SA demonstrates the wider potential for this carbon-free gas and its ability to integrate into existing and future energy networks,” said AGIG chief executive, Ben Wilson.

Australia has a National Hydrogen Strategy supported by $1.9bn of government funding.

Hydrogen supplied to domestic and industry customers

More than 700 homes in Adelaide’s suburb of Mitchell Park will be the first customers for the Hydrogen Park plant’s gas.

The plant will also cater to industrial customers for hydrogen gas in partnership with BOC, a subsidiary of industrial gases and engineering company Linde.

“This initial partnership with BOC is a key enabler to further potential expansion to South Australia and wider industrial markets,” Wilson said.

“It also brings us a step closer to supplying hydrogen for vehicle refuelling in South Australia,” he added.

Semi-trailers fitted with purpose-built tanks will be able to fill up with hydrogen at the plant using new tube trailer refilling infrastructure for delivery to any industry customers by road.

BOC, a supplier of bulk and compressed gases, will supply Hydrogen Park hydrogen to industry customers in Whyalla and Adelaide using its fleet of semi-trailers for hydrogen from early 2021.

This will replace BOC hydrogen gas deliveries from Victoria, saving 117,000km in haulage driving and 122,000kg of carbon emissions per year.

“South Australia will now have a local supply of green hydrogen readily available for energy projects, storage, mobility and more,” said BOC director of strategy and business development, Vesna Olles.

“The short delivery routes for gas sourced from AGIG’s Hydrogen Park SA plant will significantly reduce costs and open the hydrogen market in South Australia,” she said.

“The reduction in transport emissions also makes this a great move towards our goal of delivering green hydrogen to South Australia,” Olles added.

Future export opportunities for hydrogen gas

Some BOC customers in WA will also receive hydrogen deliveries from the Hydrogen Park SA plant in Adelaide, and there may be some future export opportunities for the plant’s gas.

“We look forward to working with AGIG and exploring future hydrogen opportunities across domestic applications and export opportunities,” said Olles.

The plant is powered by electricity from South Australia’s electricity grid during times of peak renewable energy generation.

The steelworks town of Whyalla will be the first community outside Adelaide to benefit from the new hydrogen plant, ahead of other customers in South Australia.

South Australia’s government backed the project with a $4.9m grant from its Renewable Energy Technology Fund.

“This is an Australian-first application of tube trailers to transport renewable hydrogen to industry and will see the local production of green hydrogen to displace brown hydrogen currently imported from the east coast,” said South Australia energy and mining minister, Dan van Holst Pellekaan.

Following on from its Adelaide Hydrogen Park plant, AGIG plans a similar plant for Gladstone with a 2022 start-up date.

The company is also aiming to introduce hydrogen into its gas networks in Victoria and South Australia through its Australian Hydrogen Centre, and it has WA government support to assess how hydrogen could be used in the AGIG-operated Dampier-Bunbury pipeline.

AGN has gas networks in South Australia, Victoria, Queensland and NSW and delivers gas to 1.3 million domestic and business customers in Australia.

Global Energy Ventures (ASX:GEV) announced last week its intention to build the world’s first ship to carry compressed hydrogen from Australia for shipment to customers in Asian markets.