The shift towards renewable energy sources has spurred innovative approaches to decarbonize industries, and one groundbreaking initiative is exploring the integration of renewable hydrogen into existing natural gas pipelines.
The Parmelia Green Hydrogen Project, funded by ARENA (Australian Renewable Energy Agency), is set to investigate the feasibility of utilizing the established Parmelia Gas Pipeline in Western Australia to transport renewable hydrogen for industrial processes.
With a focus on achieving Australia’s ambitious net-zero targets by 2030 and 2050, ARENA is investing $1.3 million in the $3.5 million feasibility study. The project aims to develop a large-scale renewable hydrogen production facility south of Kwinana, with the existing gas pipeline facilitating the transport of renewable hydrogen to replace natural gas in ammonia production at the Wesfarmers Chemicals, Energy, and Fertilisers (WesCEF) plant.
APA Group, the owner of the gas pipeline, has already conducted laboratory testing to confirm the technical feasibility, safety, and efficiency of operating a pipeline section with 100 percent hydrogen in a pressurized environment. This sets the stage for a potential shift from natural gas to renewable hydrogen in industrial processes.
Renewable hydrogen is recognized as a key player in reducing emissions in heavy industries, particularly in sectors like ammonia production. The Parmelia Green Hydrogen Project could serve as a model for decarbonization efforts in industrial centers, offering valuable insights into the development of a renewable hydrogen industry in Western Australia.
Industrial processes, including oil refining, steelmaking, and ammonia production, heavily rely on hydrogen. Ammonia production, a major consumer of hydrogen, accounts for a substantial portion of industrial hydrogen use and contributes significantly to global emissions. The project aligns with global efforts to transition from fossil fuel-dependent industrial hydrogen production to cleaner, renewable alternatives.
ARENA’s substantial commitment to renewable hydrogen projects reflects its dedication to fostering innovation in the clean energy sector. Since 2017, ARENA has allocated over $315 million to 48 renewable hydrogen projects, spanning various stages of research and deployment. The Hydrogen Headstart program, initiated in October, further emphasizes ARENA’s role in bridging the gap between the cost of renewable hydrogen production and market prices.