Renewable hydrogen headed for Whyalla steelworks

Renewable hydrogen produced at the Tonsley Innovation district was loaded on a truck yesterday for transport to Whyalla, South Australia where it will help to fuel production of high-purity argon supplied to the Whyalla Steelworks.

The hydrogen was produced in Australia’s largest electrolyser which is operated by Hydrogen Park South Australia (HyP SA) as part of a partnership between Australian Gas Networks (AGN) Networks – a subsidiary of Australian Gas Infrastructure Group (AGIG) – and global gas giant BOC South Pacific.

A custom tube trailer (pictured) will collect shipments of up to 370 kilograms of the renewable gas from HyP SA’s plant at Tonsley each week for transport to Whyalla.

The electrolyser already supplies a renewable hydrogen blend with five percent hydrogen to 700 customers on the existing gas network, putting it, and South Australia, at the forefront of the nation’s emerging hydrogen economy.

The new Adelaide-based hydrogen supply chain will replace deliveries to BOC’s South Australian customers from Victoria, eliminating the costs associated with 117,000 kilometres in annual transport and saving approximately 122,000 kilograms of carbon emissions per year.

AGIG’s CEO Craig de Laine said the operational commencement of the expansion of the HyP SA facility to supply industry had been part of the company’s strategy since the Tonsley plant opened in May 2021.

He said the initiative is a fantastic example of how electricity and gas infrastructure can work together to deliver a cleaner future.

De Laine said: “This new production source at HyP SA demonstrates the wider potential for this fuel and its ability to integrate into existing and future energy networks.”

BOC South Pacific Managing Director John Evans said the first delivery of green hydrogen to Whyalla would help decarbonise industrial processes in steelmaking and argon gas production.

Evans said: “BOC will now commence supplying green hydrogen to South Australian customers and be able to support demand for zero emissions fuel across energy, storage, transport and other industrial applications.

“The green hydrogen will also be used for combustion in our Whyalla Argon Purification Unit which makes high purity argon used in industrial processes and welding gases.

“We’re proud to be partnering with AGIG and the South Australian Government to deliver this significant milestone for the HyP SA facility and demonstrate the immediate value that a green source of hydrogen can have on South Australian industry.”

The $14.5 million HyP SA project was part funded via the Government of South Australia’s Renewable Technology Fund, as an avenue to support the nation’s target of net zero emissions by 2050.

HyP SA can produce approximately 175 tonnes of hydrogen per annum, equal to the total gas use of around 1,500 South Australian homes, or tens of thousands of homes on a blended gas basis.

HyP SA at Tonsley was the first of several renewable hydrogen projects AGIG is developing around Australia.

Pending approvals, Hydrogen Park Murray Valley in Victoria will be a 10-megawatt facility delivering up to a 10 percent by volume renewable gas blend to more than 40,000 homes and businesses in Albury and Wodonga in 2024.

AGIG has also announced plans for a 10 percent blended gas project in Gladstone, Queensland.

Picture: Renewal SA/Jo Robinson

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