Funding brings UNSW hydrogen storage to life

Monday, 16 March, 2020

Funding brings UNSW hydrogen storage to life

In a bid to support energy affordability and innovation, NSW Energy Minister Matt Kean has announced more than $15 million in funding from the government’s Regional Community Energy Fund, including a $3.5 million grant to the Manilla Solar Project.

The project — a partnership between Manilla Community Renewable Energy Inc and Providence Asset Group — will use an advanced hybrid battery storage system called H2Store, developed at UNSW by Professor Kondo-Francois Aguey-Zinsou and his team at the School of Chemical Engineering.

Application of the technology at the community solar farm in the regional town of Manilla, near Tamworth NSW — reported to be the first of its kind in the world according to the scale of the initiative — will see solid state hydrogen technology installed to store hydrogen in 20-foot containers with an energy density of 17 MWh.

“The H2Store technology is a compact and transportable hydrogen storage solution,” Professor Aguey-Zinsou said.

“It’s an effective way to store and generate renewable energy, mitigate the fluctuation of renewable generation and increase confidence in the security of supply.”

The project is expected to provide a model for sustainable energy that can be replicated by other communities. Manilla residents are set to benefit, with the opportunity to buy solar electricity at a competitive price.

“This initiative will also provide the community with the means to store solar energy and sell it on the electricity market during peak demand when the sun doesn’t shine,” Professor Aguey-Zinsou said.

“I am very excited to see the technology we developed in the lab here at UNSW scaled up and used in real-world applications. It will prove the feasibility of hydrogen storage at scale and position Australia to become a major player in transitioning to renewable energy.”

Construction will commence on the Manilla Solar Project in the latter half of 2020 and is expected to be operational early 2021.The storage component will be installed during 2021.

Image caption: Providence Asset Group's Llewellyn Owens, NSW Energy Minister Matt Kean, UNSW's Professor Kondo-Francois Aguey-Zinsou. Image credit: UNSW Sydney.

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