Feasibility of Converting the Warrnambool Campus to 100% Hydrogen

February 12th, 2022

R&D Focus Areas:
Safety and standards, Regulations, Energy systems integration

Lead Organisation:
Deakin University

Not applicable


Start date:
January 2021

Completion date:
June 2022

Key contacts:
Loren Tuck – Hycel Coordinator, Deakin University loren.tuck@deakin.edu.au

AUD$100,000 – Hycel Technology Hub via Commonwealth Department of Education, Skills and Employment

Project total cost:
AUD$100,000 cash contribution

Project summary description:
The key objective of the project was to develop a feasibility report outlining the safety, technical, economic and social factors involved in converting three residential buildings on the Deakin Warrnambool Campus from natural gas to 100% hydrogen. The project focused on the replacement of natural gas boilers used for hydronic heating and hot water services to the buildings, with hydrogen boilers.

Globally and in Australia, there are various projects focused on blending hydrogen with natural gas (typically using between 2% and 20% hydrogen) but little is known about transitioning to 100% hydrogen. Advanced international studies have already developed, tested and demonstrated hydrogen boilers in action. The project examined how those appliances perform in Australia, and ensured Australia has the correct regulatory processes in place to guide industry uptake safely and efficiently.

The project’s aims included:

  1. Safely demonstrate how existing infrastructure can utilise 100% hydrogen instead of natural gas.
  2. Contribute to the development of Australian hydrogen safety, standards and regulations. Information gathered and presented in the project will be shared with key industry, regulatory and academic stakeholders to further enhance domestic knowledge of hydrogen gas applications in the built environment.
  3. Assess and contribute to development of hydrogen skills and training where applicable.

The feasibility report included:

  • An understanding existing network components and end uses.
  • An outline of the steps and costs required to:
    • source, store, install, connect, use and maintain hydrogen supply, from a) cylinders and b) potential on-site production.
    • procure, install, connect, use and maintain appropriate hydrogen-ready boilers for heating and hot water services.
    • meet hydrogen safety and standards requirements.
  • A detailed proposed conversion plan, identifying who will do what, including safety and compliance requirements.
  • An outline of appropriate potential industry partners.
  • An outline of proposed live data management and reporting systems.
  • An outline of anticipated emissions reductions.
  • An economic analysis of the conversion project.
  • Incorporate content and information relating to stakeholder engagement and other social licence elements of the project (to be provided by the Hycel team).
  • Any other relevant key findings gathered during the development of the feasibility report or from the External Review Committee.

External Review Committee members included Future Fuels CRC; Energy Safe Victoria; WorkSafe Victoria; Australian Gas Association; Victorian Building Authority; researchers from Deakin’s Institute of Frontier Materials and representatives from gas companies.

The feasibility report presented a series of recommendations to the Deakin Executive in June 2022 to enable the university to make an informed decision before potentially proceeding to demonstration stage.

Related publications and key links:
Deakin University Hycel site: https://www.deakin.edu.au/hycel/focus-areas

Higher degree studies supported:
Not applicable


Reviewed: September 2023