Evoenergy and the Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) have partnered to build a first-of-its-kind hydrogen test facility at CIT’s Fyshwick campus. The facility opened in December 2018, and since then, we’ve been busy testing how hydrogen interacts with our network materials, work practices and equipment.
Global desire to reduce emissions from fossil fuels has resulted in plans involving the widespread use of hydrogen gas as a replacement for natural gas. In Australia, there is industry-wide collaboration and investment to understand how hydrogen can viably be used as a new energy source.
While many gas distribution companies are embarking on hydrogen-related projects, at the time of opening, ours was the first facility in the country to test the use of 100 percent renewable hydrogen on network materials, equipment and work practices, in preparation for use in the existing gas network. Both Evoenergy and CIT plan to use the facility to train plumbing students on working with hydrogen, to equip them with skills well into the future.
The facility will be launched progressively in three phases:
Phase 1: Testing existing Australian gas network components, construction and maintenance practices on 100 percent hydrogen.
Phase 2: Testing hydrogen as a broader energy storage source to support coupling the electricity network to the gas network.
Phase 3: Appliance testing (for example, testing hydrogen and mixed gases in existing appliances such as gas continuous hot water systems).
Results to date
After testing 100 percent hydrogen in our replica gas network for almost two years, we’re pleased to see there have been minimal issues. We have verified that the underground 200 kPa plastic (polyethylene and nylon) network is compatible with 100 percent hydrogen, and that the procedures that comprise our Safety Management System can be adapted for hydrogen.
We’ve also identified that further testing of work practices with a broader selection of technicians would be beneficial and will be included in further testing.
In July 2020 we installed a gas mixer at the facility to carry out further testing on blends of hydrogen and natural gas.
The results from our testing will allow us to understand the impact of using hydrogen in our existing gas network, such as whether we require any modifications or replacements, and move us one step closer to rolling out this renewable, zero emission gas on a large scale.
Proving the viability of hydrogen as a clean gas energy source will make a significant contribution to our ability to meet the ACT Government’s target to reduce emissions to zero by 2045.
For more information on the hydrogen test facility, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.