During 2022, for the first time in Western Australia (WA) ATCO will commence the Hydrogen Blending Project. Following on from the WA State Governments Renewable Hydrogen Strategy which was released in 2019, ATCO was awarded almost $2million dollars in funding to support a project to blend hydrogen into the existing natural gas distribution network, lowering emissions for the WA community.
This project will be the largest of its kind in Australia, at around 2,700 connections, and will see renewable hydrogen blended into discrete sections of the WA gas distribution network within Glen Iris, Treeby and Calleya Estates within the City of Cockburn. This will achieve the WA Government’s goal of distributing renewable hydrogen in the network by 2022 and take steps towards the longer-term goal of blending up to 10 per cent network-wide by 2030.
When it comes to energy, everything depends on us emitting nothing – the energy we need with absolutely none of the emissions we don’t. Due to hydrogen’s ability to provide energy without carbon and seamlessly work within our existing infrastructure, it presents an exciting opportunity for ATCO and the world.
ATCO has been producing hydrogen at our Clean Energy Innovation Hub (CEIH) located at our Jandakot Operations Centre since 2019, with hydrogen blending taking place currently in South Australia, Canada, Europe, and Hawaii. The hydrogen needed for the blending project will be produced on site, through electrolysis at ATCO’s CEIH.
ATCO’s hydrogen blending project will provide valuable insights into how extensive existing gas distribution infrastructure can continue to benefit customers as part of the future energy mix. Once complete, it will act as a critical building block for our energy future, bringing many benefits to our economy, and above all, our customers. As the blending project extends further into the network, and in higher concentrations in the coming years, it’s anticipated this investment will further spur the growth of the renewable hydrogen industry, particularly within Australia.
ATCO is committed to supporting the development of healthy, sustainable, and prosperous communities in the regions where we work and operate. Through our values of integrity, caring, agility and collaboration, we strive to work closely with the community on various projects and initiatives.
Information for Residents
As a resident within the hydrogen blending area, if you’re currently connected to the natural gas network you will not need to do anything as part of the hydrogen blending project. As with the current gas network, ATCO will be managing and monitoring all aspects of the blending project.
As ATCO begins injecting a small amount (initially 2%) of renewable hydrogen into a portion of the network, there will be no noticeable change to your current gas supply as ATCO transitions from non-blended to blended gas. Hydrogen is a colourless, odourless, nontoxic, and non-poisonous gas. When burned, it only produces heat and water vapour with no carbon emissions. As we’re blending hydrogen into the current natural gas network, the blended gas will still include the same smell associated with natural gas currently, therefore the look, sound and smell of the gas will remain consistent.
At ATCO, safety is always the first and top priority in everything we do. We care deeply about our people and our customers and would never move forward with a project that is not safe. Gas safety advice for natural gas customers within the project area will remain the same during the project. If you suspect a gas leak, please move a safe distance from the area and phone ATCO on 13 13 56.
Extensive testing has found that hydrogen blended into natural gas networks at ratios up to 20% does not impact modern appliances, therefore we are confident there will be no impact to appliances as ATCO is only blending a small amount of hydrogen into the natural gas network.
We understand that this may be a concern to some residents, therefore ATCO will be offering free appliance and gas supply inspections for residents and commercial customers within the project’s blending area. During the one-hour inspection, an ATCO representative will check and collect information on customer’s current natural gas appliances and the integrity of the natural gas pipes supplying the home and business.
Is hydrogen safe?
Yes. As with natural gas, hydrogen can be produced, transported, stored and used safely. Just like natural gas, it must be treated with respect and with the proper care and handling.
At ATCO, safety is always the first and top priority in everything we do. We care deeply about our people and our customers and would never move forward with a project that is not safe. Our experts will conduct numerous inspections and testing of the target network infrastructure and customers’ domestic appliances to ensure safety.
Hydrogen is becoming central to the decarbonization plans in many advanced economies around the globe such as Australia, Germany, Japan, and South Korea. In fact, the Hawaiian gas network currently contains 10 to 15 per cent hydrogen and the Hong Kong gas network contains approximately 50 per cent hydrogen.
Will the H2 blending project affect my natural gas bill?
No, our customers will not notice any difference on their natural gas bill.
Why would you want to blend hydrogen into natural gas?
Blending hydrogen into natural gas reduces the greenhouse gas (GHG) intensity of the natural gas stream, thus creating a lower carbon energy for our customers. Blending hydrogen into natural gas is not a new technology, as there are several systems already in operation in Australia, Canada, Europe, and Hawaii, as well as at our own Clean Energy Innovation Hub within WA.
Will this impact my appliances?
No, there will be no impact to appliances as ATCO is only blending a small amount of Hydrogen into the natural gas network. Extensive testing has found that hydrogen blended into natural gas networks at ratios up to 20% does not impact modern appliances. If you would like to arrange an inspection of your gas appliances and live within the hydrogen blending area, please contact our friendly team.
Has this blending technology been used before, or are we the first?
Blending renewable hydrogen into natural gas networks has been taking place for the past number of years various locations globally, including within Australia, Canada, Europe, and Hawaii. ATCO has been working closely with key government and industry stakeholders on our hydrogen future for many years. In 2019, ATCO opened the Clean Energy Innovation Hub (CEIH) at our Jandakot Operations Centre, where we have been producing and using renewable hydrogen for the past three years. This project will be the first within WA and is a very exciting milestone for ATCO, the WA Government and the City of Cockburn.
What is the timeline for this project?
In supporting the delivery of the WA Government’s Renewable Hydrogen Strategy, ATCO will be commencing the blending program in Q4 2022. The program will continue for approximately two years. As the blending project extends further into the network, and in higher concentrations, in the coming years it’s anticipated this investment will further spur the growth of the renewable hydrogen industry. ATCO is committed to ensuring the local WA community are informed as to the progress of this project and will endeavour to ensure residents within the project area and wider community are provided with timely and informative information on a regular basis.
Where is the project taking place?
The Hydrogen Blending Project will take place within the City of Cockburn in WA. Approximately 2,700 connections within the areas of Glen Iris, Treeby and Calleya estate’s will be the first residents and natural gas customers within WA to experience blended gas. This project will be one of the largest of its kind within Australia and an exciting step in WA’s energy future.