$2.3 million hydrogen research project starts at Deakin's Warrnambool campus

Media release
10 November 2020

A future where Australians can enjoy the convenience of gas heating and cooking, without CO2 emissions on the side, is one step closer with the Hydrogen Test Bed project now up and running at Deakin's Warrnambool campus.

This five-year $2.3 million industry-led research project - delivered in partnership with Future Fuels CRC - is a key step in establishing south west Victoria as a hub of hydrogen expertise.

The Hydrogen Test Bed project will see researchers bury currently used gas pipes in purpose-built sandpits, fill them with hydrogen and monitor them over a five-year period. The research aims to understand the suitability of current Australian gas infrastructure for transporting Hydrogen.

Lead researcher Associate Professor Nolene Byrne said this globally significant research will help to safely introduce hydrogen into existing natural gas networks in Australian homes and businesses.

"This project is looking at all parts of the reticulated gas network, including welds, junctures, regulators and appliances, so that we can safely introduce hydrogen into existing infrastructure," Associate Professor Byrne said.

Research results aim to extend the life of existing Australian infrastructure while investing in clean energy solutions.

David Norman, CEO, Future Fuels CRC, said that "our collaborative approach to research will enable Australia's energy sector to adapt its infrastructure to net zero emissions fuels. Australia can take advantage on the strength of our existing industry and infrastructure to deliver safe, affordable, and reliable zero emissions fuels".

The Hydrogen Test Bed project is located within the proposed Hycel Technology Hub precinct at Deakin's Warrnambool Campus in south-west Victoria.

Deakin University Vice-Chancellor Professor Iain Martin said the installation of the Hydrogen Test Bed facility is a vital step in the establishment of a hydrogen hub of expertise in the region.

"Deakin is responding to the needs of governments and industry to deliver research that unlocks the potential of hydrogen and regional Victoria," Professor Martin said.

The establishment phase of the Hycel Technology Hub is backed with $2 million in Commonwealth Government funding, announced by Education Minister Hon Dan Tehan in December 2019, to develop a ground-breaking facility for developing hydrogen application technologies at scale.

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