First wholesale delivery of SA Hydrogen departs

Brandon How

The South Australian government has announced that the first shipment of Adelaide produced hydrogen would depart for the ‘Steel City’ of Whyalla this week as the first of what is expected to be weekly shipments.

Up to 370kg of hydrogen gas will be carried by a custom tube trailer from the Hydrogen Park South Australia (HyP SA) production plant at Tonsley Innovation District in suburban Adelaide to Whyhalla. It will be burned to help produce high-purity argon that is supplied to the Whyalla steelworks and local industry.

The shipment is part of a partnership between Australian Gas Networks, part of the Australian Gas Infrastructure Group (AGIG), and gas and welding equipment specialist BOC, a subsidiary of global gases and engineering company Linde. BOC signed an agreement with AGIG in October 2020 to receive excess hydrogen from HyP SA and transport it across South Australia and Western Australia.

HyP SA is owned and operated by the Australian Gas Networks. It can produce around 175 tonnes of hydrogen annually, equivalent to the gas use of 1,500 South Australian homes, or tens of thousands if blended with methane. It is currently Australia’s largest electrolyser, and the first to deliver a renewable gas blend.

South Australian Premier Peter Malinauskas announcing South Australia’s first wholesale hydrogen shipment.

The supply chain replaces existing shipments from Victoria to BOC’s customers in South Australia. The shortened delivery distance will save around 122,000kg of carbon emissions annually.

Up to 5 per cent blended renewable gas has been supplied to more than 700 homes by HyP SA since 2021 and is aiming to supply an additional 3,000 homes by the end of 2022. AGIG aims to deliver 10 per cent blended renewable gas by 2030 and 100 per cent renewable gas by 2040. Renewable gas can also include biomethane.

AGIG’s 10 megawatt Hydrogen Park Murray Valley will supply 40,000 homes wijth a 10 per cent renewable gas blend by 2024, pending approvals. There are also plans for another 10 per cent blended gas project in Gladstone, Queensland.

Both AGIG chief executive Craig de Laine and BOC South Pacific managing director John Evans said they would continue to work on supplying South Australian customers with green hydrogen.

A $4.9 million grant from the South Australian government’s Renewable Technology Fund was awarded to the HyP SA project in February 2018.

South Australian Premier Peter Malinauskas said he was excited to announce the first shipment and that the delivery of the government’s Hydrogen Jobs Plan could lead to more local hydrogen supply chain partnerships.

“This is an exciting glimpse into the future possibilities of renewable hydrogen produced right here in South Australia,” Premier Malinauskas said.

“Renewable hydrogen is a key part of our clean energy future, and this exciting project is helping businesses push the frontiers of renewable hydrogen. The real-life application of this facility reinforces widening community recognition of hydrogen’s benefits.”

Promised before the election, the Hydrogen Jobs Plan includes is a $593 million commitment to develop a hydrogen demonstration plant in Whyalla. This will include a 200MW hydrogen power station, a 250MWe electrolyser, and a hydrogen storage facility with a 3,600 tonne capacity, the equivalent of two months of production.

The state government announced last month it had received 60 proposals from organisations across the world. The initial implementation of the Hydrogen Jobs Plan facilities is being overseen by the Office of Hydrogen Power South Australia. The state government claims that the plan will “unlock the development of a $20 billion pipeline of renewable energy projects”.

Last Tuesday, GFG Alliance’s mining arm SIMEC Mining produced its first batch of steel pellets at a facility in Whyalla using hydrogen rather than fossil fuels.

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