UNSW debuts H2Store technology to boost regional sustainable energy
The University of New South Wales Sydney will be installing its innovative hydrogen energy storage technology in an unprecedented application to help locals in the regional town of Manilla switch to sustainable energy sources.
The New South Wales government awarded UNSW with more than AU$15 million in funding from the Government’s Regional Community Energy Fund to push forward initiatives to support energy affordability and innovation in regional communities.
This was announced by New South Wales Energy Minister Matt Kean during his visit to the UNSW campus.
The fund will help these communities in New South Wales take control of their energy bills and benefit from economic opportunities generated from changes in the energy system.
Out of the total fund, an AU$3.5 million grant has been awarded to the Manilla Solar Project. In partnership with Manilla Community Renewable Energy Inc. and Providence Asset Group, the project will utilise UNSW’s H2Store, an advanced hybrid battery storage system developed by Professor Kondo-Francois Aguey-Zinsou and his team at the School of Chemical Engineering.
“The H2Store technology is a compact and transportable hydrogen storage solution. 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,” said Professor Aguey-Zinsou in a media statement.
The storage system functions by using solid-state hydrogen technology that will be installed in 20-foot containers with an energy density of 17MWh to store hydrogen.
These containers will be located at a community solar farm at Manilla near Tamworth and will be the first of its kind in the world in terms of the scale of energy storage.
The Manilla Solar Project aims to provide a model for sustainable energy that can be hopefully used by other communities in the future. How this benefits Manilla’s local residents is that they will be able to purchase solar electricity at a competitive price. This will provide wide-scale accessibility to sustainable energy alternatives for regional communities.
“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,” added Professor Aguey-Zinsou.
“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 on the Manilla Solar Project will commence in the latter half of 2020 and the new energy storage facility will be installed and expected to be operational in early 2021.