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APA's hydrogen conversion study moves ahead

Image shows gas pipeline

Photo by Bloomberg

19th May 2023

By: Esmarie Iannucci

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Australasia

     

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PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Testing by energy infrastructure operator APA Group has confirmed the feasibility of converting a 43-km section of the Parmelia gas pipeline, in Western Australia, to carry 100% hydrogen.

The company on Friday said it had successfully completed laboratory testing of the gas pipeline materials in a pressurised hydrogen environment, successfully showing that the pipeline could, technically, transport pure or blended hydrogen without reducing the operating pressure.

APA Group CEO and MD Adam Watson said this was an exciting milestone in Australia’s energy transition as it moved closer to hydrogen becoming a core part of the nation’s future energy mix, particularly for industrial customers.

“Our research indicates that it’s technically feasible, safe and efficient to convert the 43-km section of the Parmelia gas pipeline into a 100% hydrogen service, this would be an Australian first,” Watson said.

“This research is very encouraging as it suggests there could be potential for our existing gas transmission pipeline network to play an important role in connecting hydrogen production hubs to industrial sites across the nation.

“APA’s 15 000 km of gas pipelines are linked and adjacent to some of Australia’s best geographical areas for both blue and green hydrogen production. This research provides us with the knowledge that can be used to assess the potential future role they could play in providing a hydrogen supply service.”

The primary objective of the APA research is to understand and quantify the effect of hydrogen on a section of Parmelia gas pipeline material, so the safety and operating efficiency of the pipeline can be adequately assessed.

The Western Australian government has welcomed the study results, with State Development, Jobs and Trade Minister Roger Cook saying the hydrogen conversion project had the potential to be Western Australia's next big renewable hydrogen first. "The study will help in re-purposing some of our existing gas pipeline infrastructure for use in future hydrogen transmission."

“The project is a prime example of how funding from the Western Australian government is helping to ensure that the state reaches its potential and becomes a renewable hydrogen powerhouse.

“The government is investing in projects across the renewable hydrogen supply chain to support Western Australia's emergence as a significant producer, exporter and user of the clean energy source,” Cook said.

Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston added that the results from APA's pressurised hydrogen testing on the Parmelia gas pipeline were great news for the state's renewable hydrogen industry and its transition to a sustainable, net zero economy.

“Western Australia has a vast gas pipeline network. Hydrogen blending into natural gas networks to support decarbonisation is a strategic focus area for the Western Australian government.

“Progress continues to be made on a Renewable Hydrogen Target for Western Australia, which will aim to drive local demand and assist emerging hydrogen production projects.”

The next phase of the project will consider preparing the pipeline for hydrogen service, including detailed conversion plans and safety studies, while continuing to investigate potential supply and offtake opportunities.

In parallel, to support this work is a memorandum of understanding between APA and Wesfarmers Chemicals, Energy and Fertilisers (WesCEF), signed in May 2022, to undertake a prefeasibility study (PFS) to assess the viability of producing and transporting green hydrogen via the Parmelia gas pipeline to WesCEF’s production facilities in Kwinana.

“There is real momentum behind this project with the success of both the hydrogen testing on the section of pipeline and the PFS to produce and transport hydrogen,” Watson said.

“With billions of dollars invested in gas infrastructure across the country, it makes sense to look at ways to use our existing energy infrastructure to support Australia’s transition to a low carbon future, and to help our customers realise the potential market opportunities that exist for hydrogen.

“Our support for the development of a hydrogen industry is an important pillar in our ambition for a lower emissions future. At the same time, it is an example of how we are actively exploring ways to reduce and avoid our own emissions.”

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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