Australia’s Jemena has started construction of its Western Sydney Green Gas Project (WSGGP), a pilot scheme that will use solar and wind energy to generate green hydrogen that will then be injected and stored in the company’s New South Wales gas network.

Jemena’s project team has mobilised to site with specialist construction partner WASCO. Land has been cleared, pipelines have been installed and work is now under way to assemble key technology packages such as the project’s 500-kW electrolyser.

When operational, excess hydrogen produced at the project will be made available to the hydrogen vehicle industry, while Jemena will also utilise it to evaluate the storage capabilities of its gas network.

Jemena has partnered with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) to develop and deliver the WSSGP, one of ARENA’s largest investments in hydrogen technology to date.

The WSGGP is Australia’s most comprehensive hydrogen fuel study and, over the next five years, will inject green hydrogen into the NSW gas network as well as test the development of affordable energy storage to complement renewable energy, particularly when the sun does not shine and the wind does not blow.

The renewable gas project will convert solar and wind power into hydrogen gas, via electrolysis, which will then be stored for use across the Jemena Gas Network (JGN) in New South Wales, the biggest gas distribution network in Australia.

If the trial to power 250 homes and a hydrogen vehicle refuelling station is successful, Jemena will look to expand it across the NSW network.

“In the future Australians will need to decide what to do with excess renewable energy on very windy or very sunny days,” said Jemena managing director Frank Tudor.

"Jemena’s WSGGP will demonstrate how existing gas pipeline technology can store excess renewable energy for weeks and months, making it more efficient than batteries which can only store excess renewable energy for minutes or hours.”

The 25,000 kilometre-long JGN is capable of storing as much energy as 8 million Powerwall batteries.

The project will contribute to the NSW state government’s Stage 1, Net Zero Plan, to cut emissions by 35% by 2030 compared to 2005 levels.

Jemena noted that the project can support refuelling for public and private hydrogen transport. The company has a memorandum of understanding with Hyundai and Coregas to support Hyundai's hydrogen vehicle fleet.

“A lack of critical refuelling infrastructure is regularly cited as a hand-brake to hydrogen vehicle sales. Our agreement with Hyundai and Coregas releases some of that pressure and is an opportunity to demonstrate that renewably generated hydrogen gas can be made directly available to the vehicle and transport sectors,” added Tudor.

Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs) combine hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity, which runs the motor.

With a range of approximately 650 kilometres, hydrogen-powered FCEVs can travel much further than pure Electric Vehicles. As part of the deal, Coregas will provide the compressor, pipework and connectors for filling and discharging hydrogen.