WORKING HARD: Earlier this year the women of Stanwell Power Station celebrated the company for its progressive policies.
WORKING HARD: Earlier this year the women of Stanwell Power Station celebrated the company for its progressive policies.

CQ favoured for nation's largest hydrogen electrolysis plant

ROCKHAMPTON is a step closer to becoming home to the largest hydrogen electrolysis plant in Australia.

Today the Australian Renewable Energy Agency will, on behalf of the Federal Government, announce that Stanwell Corporation Limited has been granted $1.25 million in funding to assess the feasibility of a renewable hydrogen demonstration plant to be co-located near Stanwell Power Station in Central Queensland.

In July last year a $5 million Stanwell study began investigating the technical and economic feasibility of the installation of 10 MW or greater of hydrogen electrolysis, at the Stanwell Power Station site south-west of Rockhampton.

If built, this would be the largest hydrogen electrolysis plant in Australia.

Along with determining the optimal design, a key outcome of the study will be to define the highest value end use for the renewable hydrogen produced.

Stanwell Power Station offers a unique proposition in demonstrating the role that renewable hydrogen production can play to benefit the electricity system.

The hydrogen electrolyser could be used as a complimentary energy market load that can ramp up in times of excess energy supply, such as peak solar output during the day.

The electrolyser could also aid system security through participation in Frequency Control Ancillary Services markets or future markets such as Fast Frequency Response.

By using an existing power station, there are also benefits in being able to use pre-existing land approval, network connection and access to demineralised water which is required for hydrogen production.

With the hydrogen industry in its infancy in Australia, the study would determine the optimal conditions for ­electrolysers operating at high capacities.

Stanwell will procure energy and green certificates from renewable energy ­projects in the region to offset 100 per cent of the emissions associated with running the electrolyser.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said the project continued the organisation's ­commitment to driving innovation in the hydrogen supply chain.

"Through Stanwell's feasibility study we're showing a new option for producing and using renewable hydrogen," Mr Miller said.

"This will create ­opportunities across the ­domestic economy and help to position Australia to become a major renewable energy exporter.

"The construction and operation of a utility scale electrolyser is important to demonstrate the costs associated with producing renewable hydrogen at scale.

"If feasible, this could help underpin future commercial scale deployments leveraging existing network infrastructure at other power stations, and play a role in driving down the cost of domestic hydrogen production."

Under ARENA's investment priority focused on accelerating Australia's hydrogen industry, it has ­committed about $50 million towards hydrogen initiatives so far, including more than $22 million to research and development projects, and almost $28 million to demonstration, feasibility and pilot projects.

ARENA announced last November that it would commit up to $70 million in funding to a Hydrogen Deployment Competitive Funding Round in 2020.

Public consultation and information forums have been held across Australia.

Applications for the funding round are expected to open by mid year.

Stanwell's feasibility study is expected to be completed later this year.