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ARENA Funds Renewable Hydrogen Tech

The Australian Government, acting through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), has revealed a funding commitment amounting to AU$ 20.9 million for the advancement of Wollongong-based startup enabling them to demonstrate their pioneering hydrogen electrolyser technology at a commercial scale.

The start-up is set to pioneer the development and testing of a 5 MW unit at its recently established manufacturing facility situated in Port Kembla. Following this phase, the electrolyser array will be situated in its operational context for further testing and validation prior to its relocation to Queensland.

A significant boost to the project comes from the Queensland government-owned utility enterprise, Stanwell Corporation, which is pledging AU$3 million in support, along with providing the necessary site and infrastructure for the on-field deployment of the electrolyser.

The exhibition unit is set to be positioned near the Stanwell Power Station, close to Rockhampton, Queensland. This location offers available land, water access, and a grid connection. Emerging from research funded by ARENA at the University of Wollongong, the start-up was established to convert this innovative electrolysis technology into a commercially viable venture.

The start-up’s distinctive ‘capillary fed’ electrolyser cell aims to eliminate virtually all resistance within the electrolysis process. In contrast to existing electrolysers that face energy losses due to electrical resistance and the formation of gaseous bubbles on electrodes, the start-up’s technology significantly enhances the overall efficiency of the process.

The company’s technology has been proven to produce hydrogen with exceptional efficiency of 95% (equivalent to 41.5 kWh/kg), surpassing the capabilities of conventional technologies that operate with efficiencies close to 75% (equivalent to 52.5 kWh/kg).

This is expected to help reduce the costs associated with renewable hydrogen production by curtailing electricity requirements. Furthermore, the technology offers a reduced balance of plant costs, resulting from decreased electrical resistance and subsequently lower cooling demands. If implemented on a large scale, these reduced input costs have the potential to drive down the levelised cost of hydrogen, establishing renewable hydrogen as an economically viable energy resource.

The CEO of ARENA that the start-up is a notable illustration of Australian innovation driving advancements in the realm of renewable energy. He highlighted the potential of electrolyser technology to reshape the landscape of renewable hydrogen. The forthcoming field trial at Stanwell’s site holds significant promise in catalysing commercial interest in the company. This trial is positioned to validate the scalability and effectiveness of the technology.

He added that ARENA’s steadfast support for the technology since its inception in the laboratory, expressing enthusiasm about contributing to the strides being made towards achieving commercial viability. He underscored that ARENA’s central mission revolves around recognizing promising renewable energy solutions and guiding them through the innovation journey.

The CEO of the start-up highlighted the creation of employment opportunities and the enhancement of Australia’s sovereign manufacturing capacities through this initiative, which serves as a precursor to the company’s expansion to fulfil an extensive pipeline of orders from across the globe.

The CEO of Stanwell expressed his enthusiasm for supporting the start-up’s technology commercialisation, underscoring its role in advancing Queensland’s renewable hydrogen sector.

The progression of a renewable hydrogen sector constitutes a pivotal aspect of our objectives in energy transformation. Harnessing the capabilities of high-efficiency Australian technology in extensive hydrogen ventures offers a substantial competitive edge.

The initial phases of system development are currently in progress, with the on-field pilot at Stanwell projected to commence operations in 2025. This collaborative endeavour represents a significant stride towards harnessing cutting-edge technology to propel the transition towards sustainable energy solutions.


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