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Energy infrastructure company Jemena has begun blending green hydrogen into gas networks in New South Wales for the first time ever, in a new trial that hopes to decarbonise the state’s gas network. 

The two-year Jemena trial will convert solar and wind power into renewable hydrogen via electrolysis; the process by which electricity is used to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.

Hydrogen is a flexible, safe, transportable and storable fuel that when used produces no carbon emissions.

Federal Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction, Angus Taylor, welcomed the development from energy infrastructure company Jemena, which is producing hydrogen from renewable energy at its $15 million Western Sydney Green Hydrogen Hub project.

“This is a major milestone for the development of the Australian hydrogen industry,” Mr Taylor said. 

“This trial is an important step in getting clean hydrogen into the existing gas network and into New South Wales homes and businesses.

“Blending hydrogen into gas networks gives Australians choice and allows them to continue to enjoy the benefits of using gas while producing an even lower emissions product.

“Building domestic demand is critical to helping the industry scale up and achieve the goal of producing hydrogen at under $2 a kilogram.”

The Federal Government, through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has supported the Jemena Green Hydrogen Hub with $7.5 million to build a 500kW demonstration hydrogen electrolyser in Western Sydney.

Jemena’s Managing Director, Frank Tudor, said the ‘living laboratory’ was intended to demonstrate how the systems and technology required to generate green hydrogen and store it in the existing gas network could work at scale, and is the first of its kind in New South Wales.

“Green hydrogen emits no carbon and is a 100 per cent renewable gas. By blending it into our gas distribution network we are driving the transition to a low-carbon future by providing cleaner energy solutions to our New South Wales customers,” Mr Tudor said.

The project will blend green hydrogen into the existing gas network and is expected to reach 23,500 residential customers, 100 commercial customers, and seven industrial customers.

The project will also supply green hydrogen for use by transport from early 2022 through an agreement with gas supply company Coregas.

“This is the first step to decarbonise the Jemena Gas Network,” said Mr Tudor.

“As more renewable gases become available, we will continue to increase the amount of renewably generated gases blended into the network over time. This will ensure our gas network plays its role in enabling the New South Wales and Australian Governments to achieve net-zero by 2050.”

The Federal Government released a National Hydrogen Strategy in 2019, which set out a vision for Australia to become a major global hydrogen supplier by 2030.

The Federal Government is also investing more than $1.2 billion to accelerate the development of an Australian hydrogen industry, including $464 million to develop up to seven clean hydrogen industrial hubs in regional Australia.

A Renewable Gas Target of just 10 per cent would remove around 464,000 tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere each year,” Mr Tudor said.

“This is the equivalent of taking 200,000 cars off the road, and this can be achieved by 2030. In New South Wales achieving such a target would cost just $5 to $15 per household each year.”

Clean hydrogen could directly support 16,000 jobs by 2050, plus an additional 13,000 jobs from the construction of related renewable energy infrastructure. 

Australian hydrogen production for export and domestic use could also generate more than $50 billion in additional GDP by 2050.

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