ATCO's Clean Energy Innovation Hub (CEIH) at its Jandakot Operations Center in Western Australia has been awarded a grant of AUS$1.5 million* from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), the Canada-based group announced Tuesday.
'Securing this grant is a major accomplishment. We intend to play a leading role in the development of forward‐thinking, clean energy solutions and our Clean Energy Innovation Hub is at the very heart of those plans,' ATCO Australia Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer Pat Creaghan said in a statement.
'The project has many exciting elements, but what truly sets it apart is the use of excess renewable energy, which would typically be lost to the system, to produce hydrogen,' he added.
The CEIH incorporates the production, storage and use of hydrogen, or clean energy, to help energize a commercial‐scale microgrid, according to the statement.
'With a total cost of approximately $3.3 million, the industry‐leading project is an extension of ATCO's existing GasSola Residential Hybrid Energy System trial in Western Australia’s southwest, which integrates solar photovoltaic (PV) and battery storage with localized household natural gas electricity generation,' it added.
ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said the ATCO trial could lead to hydrogen being used more widely across Australia.
'Using hydrogen offers significant opportunities as a pathway to provide carbon neutral energy to both cities and regional towns, while leveraging existing infrastructure, reducing the need to implement other forms of renewables,' Frischknecht said.
According to the statement, the data gathered through this project will provide technical insights into optimizing hydrogen storage and distribution solutions, blending hydrogen with natural gas in the existing system, and establishing how hydrogen could act as a future balancing fuel supporting the electricity grid.
The CEIH site allows for household applications to be tested in a 'living lab' set‐up utilizing a modular residential home built by ATCO and installed at Jandakot, it said.
The Clean Energy Innovation Hub is expected to be fully operational in 2019 with first results from the microgrid expected to be available later that year.
Based in Alberta, Canada, the ATCO Group has approximately 7,000 employees and assets of $22 billion worldwide. The group is composed of ATCO Gas, ATCO Electric, ATCO Pipelines and ATCO Energy Solutions.
*AUS$1 equals approx. US$0.74.
By Hale Turkes