Future energy news
07 December 2022
In an Australian-first, Essential Energy is trialling a hydrogen-powered Stand Alone Power System (SAPS) to power the historic Cutlers Cottage located in the Myall Lakes National Park on the mid-north coast of NSW.
Essential Energy is partnering with NSW National Parks and Wildlife Services to determine the best range of high-tech renewable solutions that could power other sensitive environments in our network footprint.
Part of our broader work to provide viable renewable energy solutions, the trial supports the move toward a sustainable, low-carbon future, and will help drive down energy prices for all customers connected to our network.
“The technology, first developed in Germany, consists of 23kW solar panels, a battery, hydrogen electrolysers and fuel cells and hydrogen storage of up to 20 days (425 kilowatt hours). This is a unique solution which removes the need for back up generators while still providing the level of reliability we need”, said Luke Jenner, Essential Energy’s Chief Operating Officer.
“Since commissioning, and after an initial period of optimising the flows of energy between storage and customer, the performance of the system has met expectations and is delivering reliable power to the Cottage.”
The green hydrogen SAPS at Cutlers Cottage uses solar power to convert water to hydrogen, which is stored in a solid state as a metal hydride within a stand-alone modular unit, delivering uninterrupted power to the cottage.
“As well as powering the cottage with zero emissions, the unit will improve natural disaster resilience for the Cottage as it isn’t reliant on the surrounding energy infrastructure. Significant savings from reducing the usual costs associated with managing power poles and powerlines to the Cottage, including vegetation management will ultimately benefit all our customers,” said Mr Jenner.
The Cutlers Cottage accommodation was chosen for satisfying a range of criteria following engagement with NPWS.
NSW National Parks and Wildlife Services Environment, Energy and Science spokesperson, Atticus Fleming, said “We’re really interested to see the results of this trial and how effective hydrogen will be in removing the nearly 6km of line that travels through dense bushland and over land that is subject to flooding, which will be a huge win-win. For us it means we will have better reliability for our guests and reduced bushfire risk.”
While a heritage accommodation cottage may be a relatively unusual site for an energy trial, it will deepen Essential Energy’s understanding and capability as the technology on this relatively new, but high potential, energy source develops.
Mr Jenner said, “This trial is going to equip us with a range of knowledge, including better understanding of best use cases for Hydrogen SAPS, as well as other factors such as site preparation, expected reliability levels, and opportunities to improve our internal skills.
He continued, “We hope the trial, which concludes in 2023, will help us better compare Hydrogen SAPS possibilities to existing SAPS configurations which deploy lithium ion batteries. The trial will also help to identify and mitigate risks.”
Image: How the Hydrogen SAPS is powering Cutlers Cottage
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