Making gas greener using hydrogen

What if you could blend natural gas with hydrogen to make it a lower-emission fuel and strengthen the electricity grid at the same time?

Origin has joined leading infrastructure company Jemena on a green gas project in New South Wales to use renewable energy to generate hydrogen. This will be trialled across a number of uses from residential gas supply, transport and grid management and demand response to help understand what role hydrogen can play in Australia’s energy future.

The Western Sydney Green Gas Project in Horsley Park, partially funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), will build a 500kW electrolyser to use renewable energy from Origin’s wind and solar assets to convert water into hydrogen.

Most of the hydrogen produced will be injected into the gas network in the same way ethanol is blended with petrol, at a mix of less than 10 percent. The project will provide enough energy to meet the cooking, heating and hot water requirements of approximately 250 homes.

The hydrogen will also be used to charge a fuel cell connected to a microturbine for electricity generation and export back to the grid when renewables aren’t available. The renewable gas demonstration will also make excess hydrogen available to transport customers like Hyundai in Macquarie Park as well as provide hydrogen for back-to-base vehicles.

Origin will support electricity grid management during the project, looking at how to integrate electrolysers with the grid and how they could play a role in demand response and overall grid stability – generating hydrogen and taking excess electricity from the grid during off-peak times and reducing pressure on the system during peak periods by powering down.

Felicity Underhill, Origin GM of Future Fuels, said the five-year trial complements the work on a hydrogen strategy.

“It’s an opportunity for us to demonstrate how existing gas pipeline infrastructure can be repurposed to store excess renewable energy, and the role other parts of the grid – such as VPPs – can play.”

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