Charles Darwin University has signed an agreement with the West Australian company Hybrid Systems Australia to deliver the pilot 5 kW fuel cell with 8 kWh of a hydrogen storage system.
The system will be operational for industry partners, students, and researchers, further developing and commercialising hydrogen as an energy source. It will be placed at the Renewable Energy Grid Testing Facility in East Arm Wharf. This will be the first hydrogen energy system in the Northern Territory (NT).
Last year, the state government announced it would further invest in supporting the local renewable hydrogen industry. This will allow the further development of a world-class grid testing facility that will cultivate collaborations between the university and industry via applied research projects and training programs.
Hybrid Systems Australia’s Standalone Power System (SPS) product will support the testing of creating renewable hydrogen and integrating electrolysers and fuel cells into the grid. The system would create hydrogen fuel from fresh water and store it at the test facility.
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What Does a Hydrogen Generator Do?
A hydrogen generator is used to produce hydrogen from water through electrolysis. While a hydrogen-fueled generator is a clean generator that emits only water.
Hydrogen is the most common chemical that can be produced as a gas or liquid. It can also be made part of other materials. When hydrogen is produced using renewable energy or processes, it becomes useful in storing renewable energy for use at a later time when necessary.
The Importance of Hydrogen Today
It is important to note that hydrogen isn’t an energy source; instead, it’s a storage medium. It is an attractive option because it can fuel many things, such as electricity plants, vehicles, and more. It can do all these things without releasing carbon dioxide that drives climate change.
Indeed, the hydrogen economy is coming in the near future. In fact, Australia’s National Hydrogen Strategy sets a vision for a clean, innovative, safe, and competitive hydrogen industry that will position the industry as a major global player by 2030.
Economics are changing rapidly, and now, hydrogen production can be done through electrolysis. However, this is the roadblock—it’s expensive because it needs a lot of electricity.
The good news?
The price of solar and wind power continues to decline fast, as well as the costs of electrolysers as manufacturers ramp up their production and research groups develop advanced versions of the technology.
Fluctuating renewables, such as solar and wind, are the dominant sources of electricity that push utilities to store up enough energy to keep the grid working for days and weeks during certain months when those resources flag.
With hydrogen, you only need a bigger tank to store energy that can power homes and industries consistently. As hydrogen technology develops, going solar is an even more feasible option for a growing number of Australians today. With the rising electricity costs, solar power is the way to go.
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Australia is Leading in Hydrogen
By 2023, Australia will be the first country to power up one of GE’s 9F hybrid gas-hydrogen turbines for grid electricity. This will help the country de-carbonise power generation during the 2020s.
The country is on track to become the major global producer of green hydrogen due to the high-quality, low-cost wind and solar resources and a regulated and established energy market.
To meet these goals, EnergyAustralia is on a mission to build hybrid power plants that can use a combination of natural gas and hydrogen. With this, it will allow the generator to adjust the fuel intake, depending on the availability and cost of hydrogen. As a result, this will create an expanding market for hydrogen.
To do this, GE will support the mission by adapting its gas turbines to new fuels and hydrogen. It was in 2021 when EnergyAustralia signed a deal with GE to purchase their 9F gas-fired turbines for the new Tallwarra B power station. The turbines will power the first dual-fuel, gas-hydrogen power plant that will deliver more reliable grid stabilisation.
How Hydrogen Can Boost Solar Energy in Australia
One of the biggest assets of hydrogen is that it can be the ultimate source of clean energy. So, if hydrogen can only be produced using only renewable sources, like solar, then there is no need to worry anymore about carbon dioxide production.
Hydrogen is also promising for the automotive industry as hydrogen-fueled vehicles have the potential to take a far shorter time to refuel compared with electric vehicles.
Moreover, hydrogen can also be used to store excess electricity on the grid of one individual household.
Indeed, there are so many good things that may come out of hydrogen, and it’s no wonder why more and more hydrogen plants are being built across Australia. Still, we’re still far from a hydrogen economy, but there’s a way to get there faster.
An achievable prospect here is to make Australia an exporter of energy in the form of hydrogen. With the country’s massive capacity to generate renewable energy due to the abundance of land and sunshine, hydrogen can be an energy vector to transport solar PV energy to other countries.
A growing number of households and businesses in Australia are switching to solar. The rise of hydrogen could make the switch even more beneficial for more people.
For anyone considering using solar power to generate electricity, you should also consider using hydrogen as a fuel source. This is because more power stations are using hydrogen instead of coal.
As the planet becomes more polluted, more businesses and residents are taking action to ensure that they are not the ones to do this.
This includes switching to solar energy, hydrogen, and electric vehicles. Soon enough, the combination of solar and hydrogen technology can enable families and businesses to generate their own green, renewable energy and store it onsite.
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