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This project shows how blending renewable hydrogen with natural gas can reduce carbon emissions and deliver affordable, reliable, safe and cleaner energy to our customers.
Our renewable gas production facility is known as Hydrogen Park South Australia (HyP SA) at the Tonsley Innovation District. From HyP SA we are producing renewable hydrogen. Hydrogen is better for the environment because it does not release carbon emissions when burnt.
Using the existing gas network, we then supply around 710 properties near HyP SA with a blend of up to 5% renewable hydrogen and natural gas over the next five years.
Residents involved in the project have been informed and won’t experience any change in their current services gas and won’t pay any more than if they were receiving 100% natural gas. The blended gas is also as safe as the current natural gas supply.
Australian Gas Networks (AGN) is Australia’s largest gas distributor. We own and operate the gas distribution network (gas network) in South Australia and pride ourselves on delivering a safe and reliable supply of natural gas to all our customers.
We serve more than 1.2 million customers in:
AGN is one of three companies that came together in 2017 to form Australian Gas Infrastructure Group (AGIG). AGIG is one of the largest energy infrastructure businesses in Australia, owning and operating infrastructure that delivers gas to more than two million Australian homes and businesses. AGIG also delivers gas that supports the Australian economy – for power generators, mines and manufactures.
For more information visit www.agig.com.au
AGN is a proud supporter and contributor to Gas Vision 2050, a collaboration amongst the gas sector aiming to achieve a cleaner energy future for Australia while enhancing our national prosperity.
We are leading the way in terms of decarbonising gas supply.
AGN has a long history serving South Australians. Our origins date back over 150 years to when the South Australian Gas Company was formed in 1861.
We’re experts in building and operating gas pipelines to deliver gas safely and reliably to our customers. We will call upon this experience for this project.
AGN, and AGIG more widely, actively support Gas Vision 2050 which is a collaboration of energy companies examining how gas can work with renewable sources of energy to achieve a near-zero-carbon energy sector.
The main aim of this project is to demonstrate how blending renewable hydrogen with natural gas allows us to lower carbon emissions and still deliver energy safely and reliably, while balancing price.
Renewable hydrogen has other benefits in that it can be used to generate electricity, to fuel vehicles and there is a growing demand for it overseas, meaning it can underpin a substantial new industry and jobs.
A 5% hydrogen blend is the first step to lowering carbon emissions. We are also pursuing more projects, aiming to blend up to 10% hydrogen in South Australia and across the other regions we serve before considering 100% conversion.
Hydrogen Park SA (HyP SA) is the name of the facility where we produce hydrogen from renewable electricity and water using a process known as electrolysis.
The renewable hydrogen is then be blended with natural gas and supplied into our existing distribution network at volumes of no more than 5%, providing lower-carbon gas to homes and businesses.
HyP SA also supplies industrials via tube trailers (long storage tubes on the back of semi-trailers). This is complementary to the supply of up to 5% renewable gas to Mitchell Park and does not impact the demonstration in any way.
Electricity is purchased from the local electricity network. We will also purchase sufficient quantities of Large-scale Generation Certificates (LGCs) as required to ensure the electricity used to produce hydrogen is renewable.
Yes. A small amount of hydrogen (approximately 40kg) can be stored onsite at the Tonsley Innovation District in a purpose built vessel.
If you live south of Alawoona Ave in the area bounded by Alawoona Avenue, the railway line, Sturt Creek and Sturt Road, you’re likely in the area. The below map highlights the blended gas project area.Map of demonstration area.
Yes, if your property is within the zoned area of the project you receive the blended gas via the existing gas network.
You do not need to do anything at all. The blended 5% renewable gas is automatically supplied to your property.
The South Australian Government recommends that you have your gas appliances serviced every two years by a licensed gas fitter. If you live in the project area, you may elect to have a free Gas Appliance Efficiency Audit, valued at $200.
An audit can ensure gas cooking and heating appliances are running safely and efficiently to help to lower gas bills.
If you live in the Mitchell Mark blended gas project area, you will started receiving the 5% renewable hydrogen gas blend from 19 May 2021 for an initial period of five years. Register here to get the latest updates.
There is no change to the price you pay as a result of receiving blended 5% renewable gas. Customers pay the same amount as if they were receiving 100% natural gas.
You may notice a slight change to volume of gas received and to the Pressure Correction Factor on your bill. We have altered the Pressure Correction Factor to ensure you pay no more than customers receiving 100% natural gas.
Any arrangements you have in place with your gas retailer will continue, including receiving your gas bill in your usual billing cycle.
Yes. The gas network running through Mitchell Park can accommodate the 5% renewable gas blend.
The blended gas contains 5% renewable hydrogen which is not expected to change the color of the flame.
Both natural gas (methane) and hydrogen are colorless gases, however when burnt, natural gas turns blue while pure hydrogen remains invisible.
In the unlikely event you do notice a change in your gas flame, it will most likely be caused by impurities in the air at that point.
Our contractors carried out some minor work on the gas network in Mitchell Park before the blended gas flows began. Otherwise, no new equipment or appliances will be needed.
Yes, your appliances continue to work safely and reliably on blended 5% renewable gas as 100% natural gas.
The characteristics of the blended 5% renewable gas are consistent with the specifications set out in the Australian Standards for natural gas.
Any appliances sold in Australia are subject to testing to ensure they work safely and reliably with natural gas. They are tested with varying gas compositions to account for the varying sources of natural gas supplied around Australia. One such “limit” gas already contains 13% hydrogen, and therefore all certified household gas appliances sold in Australia have undergone a range of safety tests with this level of hydrogen.
We have also undertaken our own appliance testing program in which an Australian certified laboratory tests Australian appliances with various percentages of hydrogen. Initial test results indicate that appliances will work safety and reliably with a 5% renewable hydrogen blend.
This is consistent with literature and international projects which are supplying up to 20% hydrogen blends.
As a benefit of being part of this project, we are offering residents in the demonstration area an opportunity to have a free gas appliance audit to ensure your gas appliances are installed correctly and working safely and efficiently. Contact us to register your interest in the appliance audit.
We will make hydrogen using an electrolyser, which splits water into hydrogen and oxygen using renewable electricity. The process by which this occurs is known as electrolysis. The electrolysis process separates the atoms of hydrogen and oxygen which are then reformed back into water vapour when you burn it, releasing energy as heat.
This process has been around for a long time, first appearing in the 1800s and electrolysers are in used around the world today.
The key piece of equipment at HyP SA is the 1.25MW Siemens PEM (Proton Exchange Membrane) electrolyser. This equipment uses electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. Siemens has installed a number of these units across the world. These units are efficient and reliable, produce high purity hydrogen, and are low maintenance.
Other equipment at Tonsley include:
We will connect to the SA Water network to source mains water for this facility.
There is no interaction between HyP SA and the water network and water table. Water is simply delivered to site as you would have it delivered to your house.
The water volumes consumed to produce hydrogen are very low: up to 300 litres per hour, or the equivalent of a 30 minute shower using a low flow shower head.
For context, converting all gas supplied via the South Australian gas network to hydrogen using electrolysis would result in an increase in the state’s water consumption of around 2%.
HyP SA can store the hydrogen on site in a purpose-built vessel.
HyP SA can produce about 20 kg of hydrogen per hour. On average, we will produce 40 to 60 kg per day for supply to customers using our distribution network. We will also have the capacity to store approximately 40 kg on site.
HyP SA also supplies to industrials and transport via tube trailers (long storage tubes on the back of semi-trailers). This is complementary to the supply of up to 5% renewable gas to Mitchell Park and does not impact the demonstration in any way.
We are also considering supplying hydrogen to transport markets, with hydrogen vehicles being considered as an important technology to reduce emissions from the transport sector as part of South Australia’s Electric Vehicle Action Plan under development.
The gas blend consist of 5% renewable hydrogen by volume and natural gas.
No, we will not go beyond 5% renewable hydrogen blend for the five year duration of the project.
Although projects overseas are injecting up to 20% hydrogen, 5% has been identified as an appropriate first step in our transition, showing how we can use existing hydrogen production technology in South Australia to move towards delivering cleaner energy.
Outside of this project, we will look to increase volumes of renewable gas supplied via our networks and reduce carbon emissions.
A blending unit at the HyP SA facility adds renewable hydrogen to the existing natural gas supply as it flows into the Mitchell Park network.
This equipment is designed and installed by specialists to make sure:
Blending of up to 5% renewable hydrogen with natural gas poses no greater risk than our 100% natural gas networks.
Development Approval has been granted for the HyP SA facility, and all other necessary approvals will be in place before first production and injection of blended gas into our distribution network.
Hydrogen is flammable as with all other fuels, and is used safely throughout Australia and the world in accordance with guidelines. We are highly experienced at safely operating gas infrastructure.
From 1861 until 1969, South Australians relied upon Towns Gas to meet demand. Towns Gas was manufactured from coal and consisted of 50-60% hydrogen. Some places such as Hong Kong and Singapore still rely on Towns Gas.
We switched from Towns Gas upon the discovery of natural gas, because natural gas was considered more reliable and economic. Today we know that blended gas is the first step towards lowering carbon emissions and that the cost of producing hydrogen is decreasing.
The blended 5% renewable gas will pose no greater risk than using 100% natural gas. The characteristics of blended gas remain consistent with the Australian Standard for natural gas supply.
Like natural gas, Hydrogen is flammable – it is the ability to burn that makes it so useful in providing energy.
Pure hydrogen has a wider flammability range of concentrations in air (4%-75% hydrogen in air), compared with natural gas (5-15%). When blended in small amounts with natural gas, this does not have a significant impact on the flammability range. Hydrogen is also lighter than natural gas meaning it disperses more quickly, which helps to reduce the potential for explosion.
Neither hydrogen nor natural gas smell in their normal state.
Natural gas supplied via the gas network contains a special odorant to give it its distinctive smell, so that leaks can be detected. Adding some hydrogen to natural gas will not change the effectiveness of the odorant. If there is a leak, you will still detect the ‘natural gas’ smell.
If you smell natural gas, report the leak immediately by calling the 24-hour 1800 GAS LEAK (1800 427 532).
There are also other routine gas safety measures in place on the gas network, including regular leak detection surveys, which use specialist equipment. These surveys will continue in the project zone as is normal in the rest of the network.
We have extensive experience in operating gas infrastructure safely and will ensure hydrogen is produced and handled safely through:
Gas safety advice for customers remains the same during the project. The number you call during an emergency remains the same at 1800 GAS LEAK (1800 427 532).
The introduction of hydrogen into our network does not cause our gas pipes to leak. On occasion gas pipes do leak for other reasons though, such as damage from tree roots or damage by someone hitting the main.
Should a leak occur in the project area, our response and safety procedures remain the same.
Hydrogen has long been used in Australia as a fuel for industry (such as steel making and fertilisers) and for oil refining.
In recent years, using hydrogen as a direct energy source has gained momentum around the word, as we look to transition away from fossil fuels to carbon-free alternatives.
In mid-2017, the South Australian Government worked with industry to develop a Hydrogen Roadmap for potential investors and to guide the development of South Australia’s hydrogen economy. This was updated in mid-2019 as South Australia’s Hydrogen Action Plan.
In late-2019, all Australian Governments agreed to sets a path to build Australia's hydrogen industry through the National Hydrogen Strategy. Under the leadership of Australia’s Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel, the Strategy recognises hydrogen’s ability to decarbonise gas, power and transport and to underpin a new growth sector, with jobs and wider economic benefits.
It is timely for us to pursue hydrogen now, as the need to decarbonise grows and as the costs of technology (such as electrolysers) are reducing.
There is a strong interest in hydrogen in Australia. In addition to releasing the National Hydrogen Strategy, the Government is committed to fast tracking renewable hydrogen projects through their Technology Investment Roadmap which is targeting reduced production costs.
We are pleased to be leading the way in renewable hydrogen in Australia. HyP SA will be an Australian first and globally significant project when it comes online in spring 2020. Our other projects include:
You can view a list of other Australian projects at the ‘Australian Hydrogen Projects and Research Centres’ portal here.
There is a strong interest in hydrogen in Australia. In addition to releasing the National Hydrogen Strategy, the Government is committed to fast tracking renewable hydrogen projects through their Technology Investment Roadmap which is targeting reduced production costs. In early-2020, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency announced it would provide up to $70 million in funding for renewable hydrogen projects which will lead to a range of new projects being developed over the coming years.
Hydrogen as a clean energy source is already being used in Japan, South Korea, China, Europe, and the United States, both as 100% hydrogen and blended with natural gas:
AGN has ultimate responsibility for building and operating the project.
We are supported by:
Our service to customers and the community in terms of technical and service aspects are regulated by the Office of the Technical Regulator (OTR), and Essential Services Commission of South Australia (ESCOSA). Our economic regulator is the Australian Energy Regulator.
Over the coming months you will notice the hydrogen production unit and other supporting equipment being constructed at HyP SA within the Tonsley Innovation District.
You may have noticed some works occurring at the corner of McInerney Avenue and Sturt Road to isolate/separate the existing gas network and at the eastern end of Alawoona Avenue to install a new valve. This work was undertaken to isolate the demonstration area which allows us to ensure a consistent blend of 5% renewable hydrogen is supplied to consumers in the demonstration area and to allow us to engage directly and meaningfully with these customers.
There has also been site works happening at the HyP SA site in the Tonsley Innovation District.
All of the pipes in the project zone, as well as the majority of our South Australian network, are new generation polyethylene and are suitable for transporting up to 100% hydrogen. This project will only have a maximum 5% renewable hydrogen blend.
Not at this stage, only those within the project zone receive the blended 5% renewable gas.
We are however actively pursuing other hydrogen developments, so it won’t be too long before more customers are receiving a renewable hydrogen blend.
Our Vision is to deliver a 10% renewable gas blend to customers by 2030 and ultimately 100% renewable gas to all customers on our networks. This project is the first step in achieving this Vision.
We are actively pursuing additional hydrogen projects with a view to blending more hydrogen into our South Australian and other Australian networks. The next project we will deliver is Hydrogen Park Gladstone which will deliver up to 10% renewable hydrogen to customers on the Gladstone network.
Our Australian Hydrogen Centre will conduct feasibility studies into 10% blending and 100% conversion of our South Australian and Victorian networks. We are also active participants in the Future Fuels Cooperative Research Centre, the National Hydrogen Strategy and in the Technology Investment Roadmap, with a view to progressing the hydrogen industry.
The initial project period is for five years. At this time, the project benefits will be assessed with consideration given to the future supply of blended gas to residential areas.
Beyond 2026 we may consider continuing to blend hydrogen into the project area, to different or expanded parts of our network, and supplying hydrogen to other markets such as transport and industry.
We will engage with our project partner the South Australian Government, customers, and stakeholders before this occurs.