A 5% renewable hydrogen blend with natural gas is as safe to use as 100% natural gas.
We are experts in developing and operating gas infrastructure safely and reliably. This is our commitment to the more than one million Australians we serve. Our commitment to safety underpins everything we do, and we are satisfied that this 5% renewable hydrogen blend with natural gas is as safe as 100% natural gas. This is based on:
- our experience and the approvals process we have gone through to date
- that the characteristics of the blended 5% renewable gas will continue to be consistent with those set out for natural gas within the Australian Standard
- the extensive literature and research undertaken
- recent testing of Australian appliances
- the results of international projects which are already blending up to 20% hydrogen (we are using a 5% blend)
At AGN we’re subject to regulation by government bodies, which are designed to ensure our commitment to safety, reliability and service continue. We will have all necessary approvals to undertake this project before first production.
No impact on network or appliances
There has been extensive research in Australia and overseas in relation to the blending of hydrogen with natural gas and its use in appliances.
In the UK, The Health & Safety Laboratory and Kiwa have tested hydrogen blends (up to 20%) on a range of common household gas appliances. This has shown that hydrogen at this level does not affect the safe day-to-day operation of appliances.
Although we’ll only be using 5% hydrogen in this project, we’re doing our own appliance testing through an independent and certified laboratory with up to 10% hydrogen. These results will be available before we begin supplying blended gas.
A report for the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) notes that:
Hydrogen can be safely added to natural gas supplies at 10% by volume without changes to pipelines, appliances or regulations. Over time, and with modifications to the existing gas networks and appliances, hydrogen can completely replace natural gas for domestic cooking, heating and hot water.
Successful use of blended gas globally
Internationally, hydrogen is successfully being blended with natural gas for use by customers, for example:
- projects in the Netherlands, UK and France are using hydrogen at up to 20% volume for hundreds of customers
- a project in Germany has successfully blended up to 10% hydrogen volume
The UK are also undertaking studies on the full conversion of gas networks to 100% hydrogen.
Back to the future - Hydrogen as part of gas supply
From 1861 until 1969, South Australians relied upon Towns Gas to meet demand. Towns Gas was gas 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 at the time natural gas was considered more reliable and economic. Today, the costs of producing hydrogen are coming down, and we know that blended gas is the first step on our journey to lowering carbon emissions.
Using hydrogen and natural gas safely
Hydrogen, like other fuels, is flammable and this is a key reason it can provide us with energy. It also means we need to treat hydrogen and blended gas with respect, as we do natural gas, electricity, petrol and other energy carriers.
Blending 5% renewable hydrogen won’t change the approach to safety that is currently in place. The blended 5% renewable gas will still retain the distinctive natural gas smell that allows you to detect any leak.
You should continue to follow the same safety principles you do with your natural gas supply, ensuring you appliances are installed correctly and maintained. Importantly, if you ever smell gas or think there is a leak, you should report it.
Reporting a gas leak
If you ever smell gas in the street or on your property before or including your gas meter you should call our Leaks and Emergency Services on 1800 GAS LEAK (1800 427 532) to locate and repair the leak.
If you think the leak is after the meter on a section of pipe work connecting your appliances, or on the appliance itself, you should contact a licensed gas fitter to fix the problem. Remember, any person undertaking work involving gas must be appropriately licensed.