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Hybrid Systems Australia and Horizon Power open renewable hydrogen demo plant

Hybrid Systems Australia, Pacific Energy’s integrated renewables subsidiary, has joined Horizon Power in officially opening Horizon Power’s renewable hydrogen demonstration plant.

The Australian-first project, which is being delivered in partnership by Horizon Power and Hybrid Systems Australia, will test the technological and commercial viability of renewable hydrogen as a baseload power source.

Hybrid Systems Australia was engaged to design, construct and commission the plant and worked closely with fellow Pacific Energy subsidiary, ENGV, to supply and install hydrogen equipment in the integrated system, including a 348 kW electrolyser, a specialised hydrogen compression and storage system and a 100 kW fuel cell.

The company also constructed a 704 kW solar farm to generate the renewable energy required to produce hydrogen.

In addition to providing valuable learnings for future applications of renewable hydrogen across the power generation sector, the system aims to demonstrate the efficiency of the hydrogen equipment such as the electrolyser and fuel cell, the ramp rate of hydrogen in response to a decline in solar generation, and the efficiency and storage capability of hydrogen fuel cells versus batteries.

Hybrid Systems Australia’s Executive Director, Mike Hall, said the project had proved ground-breaking, providing plenty of opportunities to further develop the company’s expertise and add value more broadly to the burgeoning sector.

“As an industry-first, this project has presented some really interesting opportunities for us to grow our capabilities in the green hydrogen project delivery space,” he said.

“It’s still a budding industry in Australia, so we really had to start at the beginning, from designing a system based on first principle thinking to navigating both existing and newly developing industry regulations and licensing designed for different applications. We’ve worked closely with Horizon Power and regulators to get the process right, and it’s been a very dynamic project, but we looked at any challenges as growth opportunities, and in doing so, we’ve been able to see things through fresh eyes.

“We’re looking forward to seeing the outcomes of Horizon Power’s Denham project and ongoing research and, furthermore, what it means for renewable hydrogen in utility-scale applications.”

The plant, which produced its first hydrogen in October, is expected to produce renewable energy equivalent to the average power demands of 100 households, or about 20% of Denham’s residential and business power needs, and will offset approximately 140,000 litres of diesel annually.

The project is a A$9.3 million ($6.2 million) investment, co-funded by Horizon Power, the Western Australian State Government and the Australian federal government. The Western Australia Government provided A$5.7 million of funding, with A$1 million through the Renewable Hydrogen Fund. The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) provided A$2.6 million of funding through its Advancing Renewables Program.

Hybrid Systems Australia, a subsidiary of the QIC-owned Pacific Energy Group Holdings Pty Ltd, is currently commissioning Horizon Power’s renewable hydrogen demonstration plant, which is expected to be fully operational in early 2023.