South Australian Hydrogen Hubs Inc. (SA-H2H™) has an ambitious goal to firmly establish several hydrogen “hubs” across the State, bringing together industry, academia and government to rapidly accelerate scale of hydrogen ecosystem.
The industry-led association functions as a cluster. It was seeded by NERA (National Energy Resources Australia) to build the capability needed to establish Australia as a world leader in the hydrogen value chain.
“Export demand is there,” SA-H2H co-founder Quentin Roberts said, adding that the hubs would help drive a collaborative effort to “get South Australia, and ultimately Australia in a position to be able to export”.
The mission of SA-H2H is to deliver hydrogen supply-chain scale in South Australia by:
- fostering hydrogen supply chain innovation
- enabling and connecting hydrogen hubs throughout South Australia
- facilitating and attracting hydrogen supply chain investment to South Australia
- accelerating growth of South Australia’s hydrogen ecosystem
- building hydrogen supply chain skills and capability.
“Generally, the benefit of a hub type approach is it helps you to accelerate the scale of things,” Quentin said.
There might be a business that is looking at a 2 megawatt electrolyser to meet their demand, but if there is more demand in the same region, “all of a sudden, we don’t need 2 MW, we need 20 MW.”
All but one of the current hubs is geographically based, with one on the Upper Spencer Gulf, one in Tonsley, one at Roseworthy and one at Outer Harbour.
Each of these locations already have some infrastructure and industry in place to allow for cross pollination. For example, on the Upper Spencer Gulf, there is already:
- an existing export terminal that could be adapted for hydrogen
- projects associated with green ammonia production
- a nearby steel production site.
Meanwhile, Tonsley is home to Australia’s largest electrolyser, which made it a logical hub location; Roseworthy has one of the state’s largest gas users; and Outer Harbour has heavy industry, ship building and power generation, as well as export facilities.
There is also a mobility hub that focuses on establishing a refuelling network for using hydrogen to fuel transport, such as marine, heavy vehicles and rail. Although not officially a hub, one member has a project on the Limestone Coast which is also supported by the Cluster.
Each hub is at different stages of development, with Upper Spencer Gulf the most advanced.
SA-H2H™ is using ICN Gateway to identify like-minded businesses to join them, as well as to call for expressions of interest to collaborate in an industry-led, state-wide feasibility study to implement a hydrogen refuelling network by 2025.
“We have more than 45 members and supporters now, and only officially opened for membership in July last year,” Quentin said.
“It’s an amazing ecosystem from big corporates, to SMEs, micro-business, a couple of the Universities, CSIRO and TAFE.
“One of the great things about clustering is that it brings worlds together – a triple helix of government, academia and industry.”
SA-H2H is supported by the Department of Energy and Mining, the Department for Industry, Innovation and Science and the Department for Trade and Investment.
With a diverse supply chain, hydrogen offers an opportunity for a range of business.
“Anything you would imagine on any project. The difference is you have that electrolyser in the middle,” Quentin said.
“Pretty much anyone can be a member if they can see a logical link in that supply chain.”
Hydrogen has benefits across energy security and sustainability.
“We are very heavy gas users,” Quentin said. “Pipeline companies are seeing hydrogen as an essential part of their transition to decarbonise.
“One of our members, the Australian Gas Infrastructure Group has a stretch target of 100 per cent renewable by 2040. The only way they can achieve that is through carbon-neutral gases such as hydrogen, biomethane or a mix.”