Hydrogen Test Facility – ACT Gas Network

April 12th, 2022

Hydrogen Test Facility – ACT Gas Network

This test facility will enhance understanding of the impact of introducing hydrogen into the existing gas distribution network that services the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and Queanbeyan (New South Wales).

Main proponents:

Evoenergy, Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT)

Main end-use classification:

Hydrogen in gas networks

Status:

Operating – December 2018

Estimated cost:

 

Other involvement:

Australian National University (ANU)

Production details:
Location:

Australian Capital Territory (ACT), Australia

Announced funding:

AUD$600,000 – Evoenergy

AUD$60,000 in-kind – Canberra Institute of Technology and Australian National University

Project description

The main purpose of the test facility is to enhance understanding of the impact of introducing hydrogen into the existing gas distribution network that services the ACT and Queanbeyan (New South Wales).

Evoenergy operates and maintains the electricity network in the ACT and the gas network in the ACT and Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council (QPRC). These networks supply electricity to over 200,000 residential and business customers in the ACT and gas to over 155,000 customers in the ACT and New South Wales.

The Test Facility comprises a 1.25 (kilowatt) kW Alkaline electrolyser producing (renewable) hydrogen gas powered by solar panels, a small replica network comprising materials and components currently in use in the gas network, representative customer piping, storage for hydrogen and residential appliances.

The replica network is made from polyethylene and nylon pipes, valves and various joints and fittings in two sandboxes connected to meters and regulators at the outlet.

Produced hydrogen flows through the replica network and into a ‘customer’ piping set-up connected to various appliances, including an instantaneous hot water system, a portable gas heater and a four-burner cooktop.

The facility is progressing through three phases since operations began in December 2018, albeit the COVID-19 situation has caused some significant delays:

  • Phase 1 – testing existing ACT network components (e.g. distribution piping and valves) and construction and maintenance practices under 100 per cent hydrogen application. A pressure hold test was conducted from April 2019 through 2020, which demonstrated that there is no escape of hydrogen from the buried network materials. This phase is being extended to further explore the efficacy of work practices, tools, equipment and training when applied to hydrogen as well as the inclusion of testing ex-service components.
  • Phase 2 – testing hydrogen as a broader energy storage source to support a coupling of the electricity and gas networks. This phase is expected to commence in the fourth quarter of 2022.
  • Phase 3 – appliance testing (and of associated piping, regulators, meters) with different blends of hydrogen and natural gas to gauge how different equipment perform on different blends. This phase commenced in the second quarter of 2022.

The facility is located at the Fyshwick campus of the Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT).

The facility has also been used by CIT to train gas-fitting students in piping and appliance installation for hydrogen and as part of ongoing training of apprentices.

The ANU has used the facility for undergraduate projects and is now incorporating it into further materials and hydrogen research.

 

Updated: April 2022