PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Renewable hydrogen has been blended into the Western Australian natural gas network for the first time, as the state’s first high-speed hydrogen refueller officially opened.
Natural gas company ATCO has begun blending a small percentage of renewable hydrogen into a portion of the natural gas distribution network within the City of Cockburn.
The project is one of the largest of its kind in Australia, and is expected to reach more than 2 700 businesses and households. It is the first time in Western Australia that renewable hydrogen has been used in the natural gas supply.
ATCO plans to increase and test blend percentages from 2% working towards up to 10%.
Meanwhile, ATCO and Green energy developer Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) have also opened the first green hydrogen refuelling station at ATCO’s Clean Energy Innovation Hub.
The H2 Refueller uses green hydrogen produced on-site at ATCO’s facility in Jandakot from renewable electricity through electrolysis. It will enable Fortescue, ATCO and third parties such as the WA Police to support their fleets of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, with the capability to refuel a Toyota Mirai with green hydrogen in less than five minutes and supporting up to 500 km of emissions-free travel.
“Green hydrogen is a practical, implementable solution that we all need to help combat global warming and our mission at Fortescue is to make this renewable alternative to fossil fuels available at a global scale and at competitive cost,” Fortescue executive chairperson Dr Andrew Forrest said.
“This starts at home right here in Western Australia. Just as Fortescue is committed to stepping beyond fossil fuels to achieve real zero operational emissions by 2030, we are proud to support the decarbonisation of Western Australia’s transport sector by providing the choice to fill tanks with a zero-emissions fuel source.
“We are very proud of this project which is the embryonic start of a huge new industry across the globe. While this may be a small drop in the ocean, it is nonetheless worth celebrating. This is the future of our state. We are grateful for the support of the Western Australian government and delighted to partner with ATCO on this project, which is helping to establish Western Australia’s green economy, creating new jobs and opportunities for Western Australians,” Forrest said.
The state government has invested in both projects, contributing A$1.97-million towards the hydrogen blending project and A$1-million to the hydrogen refuelling station.
In total, the government has committed A$162.5-million to support the development of the renewable hydrogen industry in Western Australia following the release of the Renewable Hydrogen Strategy in 2019.
The strategy sets out four clear targets for completion in 2022 - a refuelling facility available in Western Australia, distribution of hydrogen into the gas network, use of hydrogen in a remote location, and approval of an export project.
The milestones today mean the government has hit all four 2022 targets on time, following the commissioning of the Denham hydrogen plant in October and the commencement of construction on the joint Yara/ENGIE Yuri project in the Pilbara.
“The milestones achieved by ATCO projects are not just great news for the company, they are great news for Western Australia,” Premier Mark McGowan said.
“More and more, we are seeing local projects take renewable hydrogen as a clean energy source from theory to reality. Hydrogen is the fuel of the future, and my government is positioning Western Australia at the front of the hydrogen race, driving local jobs and helping to diversify the economy.”