February 21 (Renewables Now) - The Australian government will provide AUD 1.28 million (USD 843.3m/EUR 781.5m) in financing for a national hydrogen centre tasked with exploring opportunities for blending hydrogen into the natural gas networks of South Australia and Victoria.
The funding will be extended by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) to Australian Gas Networks Ltd, which is a unit of domestic gas major Australian Gas Infrastructure Group. The company already works on a demo facility in South Australia that will distribute a 5% hydrogen blend into the gas supply in Adelaide when operational in mid-2020.
Called the Australian Hydrogen Centre, the new entity will initially assess the feasibility of putting a 10% hydrogen blend into the natural gas pipelines in selected regional towns as well as study the potential for coupling the gas and electricity transmission networks. Options for a 10% hydrogen blend into the entire gas networks of the two states and switching to 100% hydrogen will be assessed subsequently.
The governments of South Australia and Victoria, energy services provider AusNet Services (ASX:AST) and French majors Engie SA (EPA:ENGI) and Neoen (EPA:NEOEN) have all pledged to support the activities of the new centre.
The feasibility studies are expected to be completed in January 2022.
(AUD 1.0 = USD 0.659/EUR 0.611)