Renewable hydrogen produced at Hydrogen Park South Australia (HyP SA) will help to fuel production of high-purity argon supplied to the Whyalla Steelworks, in a South Australia-first project to transport the locally made renewable energy to the regional industrial city.
Starting today, 29 August, a custom tube trailer will collect shipments of up to 370 kilograms of the renewable gas from HyP SA’s plant at Tonsley Innovation District as part of a partnership between Australian Gas Networks – a subsidiary of Australian Gas Infrastructure Group (AGIG) – and global gas giant BOC.
It is the beginning of what is expected to be weekly deliveries to the Steel City and will position HyP SA as a major wholesale supplier of hydrogen in Australia.
The new Adelaide-based hydrogen supply chain will replace current deliveries to BOC’s South Australian customers from Victoria, eliminating the costs associated with 117,000 kilometres in annual transport and saving approximately 122,000 kilograms of carbon emissions per year.
AGIG’s Chief Executive Officer Craig de Laine said the operational commencement of the expansion of the HyP SA facility to supply industry had been part of the company’s strategy since the Tonsley plant opened in May 2021. He said the initiative is a fantastic example of how electricity and gas infrastructure can work together to deliver a cleaner future.
“This new production source at HyP SA demonstrates the wider potential for this fuel and its ability to integrate into existing and future energy networks,” Mr de Laine said.
John Evans, BOC South Pacific Managing Director said the first delivery of green hydrogen to Whyalla would help decarbonise industrial processes in steelmaking and argon gas production.
“BOC will now commence supplying green hydrogen to South Australian customers and be able to support demand for zero emissions fuel across energy, storage, transport and other industrial applications,” Mr Evans said.
“The green hydrogen will also be used for combustion in our Whyalla Argon Purification Unit which makes high purity argon used in industrial processes and welding gases.
“We’re proud to be partnering with AGIG and the South Australian Government to deliver this significant milestone for the HyP SA facility and demonstrate the immediate value that a green source of hydrogen can have on South Australian industry.”
A pioneering endeavour, the $14.5m HyP SA project was part funded via the Government of South Australia’s Renewable Technology Fund, as an avenue to support the nation’s target of net zeros emissions by 2050.
HyP SA is Australia’s largest electrolyser and the first to deliver a renewable hydrogen blend to customers on the existing gas network, putting it, and South Australia, at the forefront of the nation’s emerging hydrogen economy, with the potential to deliver jobs and growth for residential, commercial, industrial and export applications.
HyP SA can produce approximately 175 tonnes of hydrogen per annum, equal to the total gas use of around 1,500 South Australian homes, or tens of thousands of homes on a blended gas basis.
Since May 2021, HyP SA has supplied up to 5% blended renewable gas to more than 700 homes in Mitchell Park, which has strongly embraced its status as the recipients of Australia’s first renewable blended gas.
Mr de Laine said the latest milestone builds on recently announced plans for HyP SA to deliver renewable gas to thousands of additional customers in the local area from its existing operations.
Renewal SA Chief Executive Chris Menz said Tonsley’s culture of innovation provided a unique environment to support such commercialisation.
“When Tonsley was created there was a mandate to deliver something innovative and internationally significant across the 61ha of the former Mitsubishi plant,” Mr Menz said.
“Clean technology was one of the four sectors identified as an area of growth capability for the state’s economy, so to see Tonsley’s foundation of innovation giving life to HyP SA and then seeing that renewable energy project becoming a true template for how it can be replicated or scaled up is a testament to the government’s vision and the success of private-public partnerships.”
AGIG aims to deliver at least 10% renewable gas across its distribution networks by 2030 and has set itself an ambitious target of 100% renewable gas conversion by 2040, and by no later than 2050.
HyP SA at Tonsley was the first of several renewable hydrogen projects AGIG is developing around Australia. Pending approvals, Hydrogen Park Murray Valley in Victoria will be a 10-megawatt facility delivering up to a 10% (by volume) renewable gas blend to more than 40,000 homes and businesses in Albury and Wodonga in 2024. Additionally, AGIG has announced plans for a 10% blended gas project in Gladstone, Queensland.