The first step on the journey to a zero emissions gas network in Australia has been revealed as Australian Gas Networks (AGN) announced it will play a crucial role in a trial to produce hydrogen (H2) from water for injection into gas networks.

Next year, Adelaide will host a trial of a new type of electrolyser, which uses electricity to split water molecules into H2 and oxygen.

Funded by a $5m grant from the Federal Government’s Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), the trial, held in Adelaide, would inject H2 in small quantities into the gas distribution network owned by AGN – in a process known as “power-to-gas”.

Power-to-gas provides long-term energy storage and stabilisation of intermittent solar and wind power, as well as making use of excess and unwanted wind power.

AGN Chief Customer Officer, Andrew Staniford, said, “Producing H2 from water using renewable energy and electrolysis technology has enormous potential in the global energy market.”

AGN will partner with Wollongong-based AquaHydrex to built an electrolyser pilot plant at Kidman Park, in Adelaide’s western suburbs.

Staniford continued, “The pilot plant will show how the natural gas networks can be decarbonised and how renewable energy can be used efficiently. The volumetric capacity of renewable energy stored in Australian gas infrastructure is equivalent to as much as 6 billion household Li-ion batteries. This provides what is for all intents and purposes a ‘bottomless battery’ that is already in place and capable of storing and transporting vast amounts of time-shifted renewable energy.”

The first production of H2 is scheduled for late next year. 

“This provides what is for all intents and purposes a ‘bottomless battery’ that is already in place and capable of storing and transporting vast amounts of time-shifted renewable energy.”

Andrew Staniford, AGN Chief Customer Officer