Global Power Generation Australia (GPGA), which operates the 91 MW Crookwell 2 Wind Farm, will invest $75,000 a year for 20 years into the ANU’s Energy Change Institute to conduct research on the hydrogen economy.
The GPGA funding will support a $25,000 a year scholarship for a master’s student to undertake research on hydrogen and a further $50,000 a year to support research and education on the hydrogen economy.
The announcement follows the lodging of plans by ActewAGL in January for the first hydrogen refuelling centre of its kind in Australia to be built at its compressed natural gas (CNG) station in Mildura Street in Fyshwick.
The new $2.8 million hydrogen facility will augment the CNG facility and service a new fleet of 20 Hyundai Nexo hydrogen fuel cell vehicles for the ACT Government as part of its commitment to sustainable energy sources and technologies.
Director of the ANU’s Energy Change Institute, Professor Ken Baldwin, said the funding is important as hydrogen has the potential to be the ‘missing link’ between renewable energy like solar and wind, and industries that have yet to find a viable alternative to fossil fuels.
“Australia has great potential to lead the way globally in providing cheap, clean and green hydrogen. We have the potential to generate and store this renewable energy vector, and export it to our region and the world,” Proefessor Baldwin said.
“At ANU we are not only exploring ways to generate clean hydrogen but how we can best store, transport and apply it, as well as how we should govern and regulate its use.
“A key mission of all our work at ANU is to not only position Australia as a vital player and as a trusted producer of zero-carbon renewable energy but help meet the ever-increasing, clean-energy needs of some of the world’s largest energy consumers,” Professor Baldwin said.
The convenor of the ANU Energy Change Institute research cluster on the hydrogen economy, Dr Igor Skryabin, said the ANU is collaborating with Canberra-based businesses on renewable energy.
“This important funding from GPGA will enhance local expertise and innovation in this key area of the global energy transition,” Dr Skryabin said.
Professor Baldwin told Region Media that while further research and development is required, hydrogen can be integrated into gas networks, transport systems, electrical systems and industrial processes.
“Hydrogen could potentially be injected into existing gas networks and could act as a zero-carbon replacement for natural gas, and up to a level of 10 per cent in a natural gas network, this would not require substantial changes to appliances,” he said.
“Potentially in the long term, 100 per cent hydrogen in the gas network could be contemplated but would require improvement to the pipes and distribution system, as well as changes in some appliances such as gas jet burners.”
The ACT Government has committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2045 and the GPGA funding forms part of the ACT Government’s local investment criteria required through the 2016 Next Generation Renewables auction.
ACT Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability Shane Rattenbury said hydrogen made from renewable energy is an exciting prospect and has the potential to replace fossil fuels, further decarbonising the economy.
“We are uniquely positioned in the ACT to become a hydrogen knowledge hub through contributions to hydrogen research activities, as well as conducting pilots and trials with the industry.
“The ACT is already hosting Australia’s first 100 per cent hydrogen test facility and is on track to deliver Australia’s first public hydrogen refuelling station pilot.”