ATCO Hydrogen Microgrid
INVESTMENT PRIORITY: Delivering secure and reliable electricity
LEAD ORGANISATION: ATCO
ARENA FUNDING: $1.66 million
TOTAL PROJECT COST: $13.53 million
LOCATION: Jandakot, WA
Australia’s first green hydrogen innovation hub has been established in Western Australia to assess the practicality of replacing natural gas with hydrogen at a city-wide scale. The project is testing the production, storage and supply of renewable hydrogen in a commercial-scale microgrid at ATCO’s Jandakot facility.
Some of the technical challenges that will be tackled by the project include finding the best hydrogen storage solutions, blending hydrogen with natural gas and using hydrogen as a ‘direct fuel’ in household gas appliances.
The project includes approximately 1100 solar panels to generate up to 300 kilowatts (kW) of power, which is around 2.5 times the daily electricity requirements of the facility. Batteries store 400 kilowatt hours (kWh) of the solar energy produced, and the excess is used to create the green hydrogen.
The facility has been producing renewable hydrogen since March 2019, piping the gas into two lines for testing. In one line, the hydrogen is blended in low concentrations with natural gas to test how a cooktop, hot water boiler and space heater respond to different proportions of the renewable gas. The other will deliver 100 per cent hydrogen for dedicated hydrogen appliances that will be installed in the future.
In addition to tackling these engineering and technical challenges, the project will explore the economic barriers to hydrogen replacing natural gas in our homes.
How this project makes a difference
This project could lead to hydrogen being used to store variable renewable energy and becoming more accessible across Australia, providing carbon-free energy to cities and towns while leveraging existing natural gas infrastructure.