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The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) will provide $1.1 million in funding to APA Group (APA) to build a modular hydrogen demonstration plant at Wallumbilla. 

The plant will be built near Roma in outback Queensland, and will produce around 620kg of hydrogen per year, which will be converted into 74GJ of renewable methane.

This renewable methane will then be able to be injected into APA’s natural gas pipelines across the east coast, helping to decarbonise the sector.

Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, Angus Taylor, said the project is a great innovation, and could provide a number of benefits, particularly for regional communities and east coast gas users.

“It is great to see industry working on new methods to blend hydrogen into existing gas infrastructure by creating renewable methane,” Mr Taylor said. 

“This type of innovative work is exactly what we need to see to grow our domestic hydrogen industry.

“Integrating renewable energy sources into Australia’s gas distribution system is a crucial step in delivering long-term secure and reliable energy, and reducing emissions.”

Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management, and Member for Maranoa, David Littleproud, said innovation in the Maranoa region could play an essential role in the development of Australia’s future renewable energy sector.

“This demonstration plant has the potential to diversify Wallumbilla’s economy, create jobs for future generations and be one of the leaders in the renewable methane field,” Mr Littleproud said.

“Science and innovation play key roles in developing new opportunities, not only in urban areas but in rural areas too – Wallumbilla will be the site for these developments.”

APA has partnered with Southern Green Gas to develop the $2.2 million project to develop the renewable methane process. 

Methane will be generated using solar-generated electricity, water and CO2 from the air, and can then be stored in existing natural gas pipelines.

This project supports some of the priority work areas of the National Hydrogen Strategy by working to reduce the production costs of electrolyser technologies and blending hydrogen into local gas networks. 

This funding adds to the over $500 million the Australian Government has already committed to hydrogen development since 2015.

Australia’s National Hydrogen Strategy was released by the Council of Australian Governments Energy Council in November last year, and outlines actions to support the development of a hydrogen industry that offers enormous benefits to Australia’s economy and the environment.

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