Clean Energy Innovation Hub
Clean Energy Innovation Hub
The Perth-located Clean Energy Innovation Hub incorporates the production, storage and use of hydrogen in micro-grid system applications, including blending with natural gas and in power use.
|Main end-use classification:
Microgrid applications – natural gas blending, power use
Operating – official opening in mid-2019
Hydrogen production – 23 tonnes per annum maximum capacity
Western Australia, Australia
AUD$1.79 million – Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA)
The purpose of the project is to build and operate a ‘microgrid’ hybrid energy system enabled by renewable gas technology (including hydrogen) and the integration of renewable gas with solar and batteries.
ATCO delivers natural gas to more than 750,000 domestic and business customers through 14,000 kilometres (km) of pipelines throughout Western Australia.
The Clean Energy Innovation Hub, which has been in operation since mid-2019 at ATCO’s Jandakot Operations Centre in Perth, Western Australia, operates along the following lines:
- electricity generated through 1,003 solar panels provides the energy required to run the Jandakot Operations Centre;
- excess energy generated from the 300Kw of rooftop solar PV is used to charge the 500kWh (478kWh useable) of onsite battery storage for non-sunshine hours-usage;
- once the batteries are fully charged, the excess energy is used to power a 260kW Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) electrolyser which splits water into hydrogen and oxygen, venting the oxygen;
- the hydrogen gas produced is stored in a 30-bar high-pressure vessel;
- thereafter, the hydrogen gas is distributed within the ‘microgrid’ in three ways:
- as a direct fuel for appliance testing in a residential hybrid display home. The Jandakot site has a wide range of appliances able to undergo testing, which will inform how appliances operate under a range of hydrogen and gas blends.
- as fuel for a 1.2kW hydrogen fuel cell that provides back-up power to the display home (when its primary sources of power – solar and batteries – are depleted)
- as a blended fuel with natural for use within the Hub’s existing 200kW gas generator. ATCO is blending hydrogen at 0.5 per cent increments up to a maximum 10 per cent over an extended period of time. ATCO foresees gas appliance usage occurring over an 18 to 24 month period post the ‘go-live’ of the microgrid facility.
The electrolyser model used is a Proton C30 manufactured by Nel Hydrogen Electrolyser in Norway. It has the capacity to generate up to 65 kg/day of hydrogen, consuming 64.5 kWh/kg electrical power. Utility water is delivered to the electrolyser as feedstock from ATCO’s mains water system, with a maximum required water supply rate of 26.9 litres/h.
The electrolyser will only operate to produce hydrogen when there is sufficient electrical power available from the solar system after battery storage has filled. Electrolyser power availability is therefore determined by a limited solar window and is designed to operate once daily for two to four hours. In order to supply hydrogen gas outside the solar window, installation of a hydrogen storage vessel was necessary. Hydrogen is supplied from the storage vessel when there is sufficient inventory:
As of end August 2020, the project has around one year of operations experience as well as experiences gained during development, construction and regulatory approvals. The lessons learnt are examined in the following reports:
July 2018: ARENA announces AUD$1.79 million in funding to support the establishment of the innovation hub at Jandakot.
July 2019: ATCO officially opens its Clean Energy Innovation Hub at Jandakot.
This description was reviewed by the project proponent in August 2020.