Green hydrogen drives energy summit

With the COP27 international climate summit under way in Egypt, the need for global players to keep the goal of restricting warming to 1.5C has never been greater – and much hinges on the rapid switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy.  

Targets in line with the Glasgow Climate Pact are driving international initiatives to respond to climate change and the energy crisis, including in South Australia where industry, government, community and other groups will this week launch a set of goals to help speed up the state’s net-zero carbon emissions pathway. 

Dozens of hi-tech companies operate from the Main Assembly Building (MAB) at the Tonsley Innovation District. Photo Renewal SA

The Future Energy Week (10-11 November) ‘Tonsley Accords’ will be drafted in line with the Federal Government’s Climate Bill which is targeting 43 per cent emissions reduction by 2030. 

Modelled on the Paris climate accords, the Tonsley Accords will help shape Australia’s energy transition concentrating on the themes of the ‘Energy Trilemma’; Food, Energy & Water; Mobility & Transport; Industry, Innovation & Digitisation; and Hydrogen.

Photo: Getty Images

“Here at the Tonsley Innovation District, the ‘hydrogen technology cluster’ is bringing hundreds of industry connections, government, research and other connections together in the state to deliver hydrogen supply-chain scale by 2025,” says SA Hydrogen Hubs (SA-H2H) co-founder and EfficientSee CEO Quentin Roberts ahead of Future Energy Week

“As hydrogen hubs develop across South Australia, we see huge potential in this collaboration to deliver clean energy to state, national and export markets to help meet decarbonisation ambitions.  

“The challenges are significant for us all, but Future Energy Week will be an absolutely massive catalyst for change and a great thing for business, employment and climate in this state.”

With industry players and State and Federal funding, the SA-H2H network is planning and supporting a number of hydrogen projects at Tonsley south of Adelaide, in the Upper Spencer Gulf, Outer Harbor and Roseworthy – and a strategy for mobile refuelling network for heavy transport and other users. 

The Australian Gas Infrastructure Group (AGIG) operates a 1.25MW electrolyser using renewable electricity at the Tonsley Innovation District.

Already the Australian Gas Infrastructure Group (AGIG) at Tonsley operates a 1.25MW electrolyser using renewable electricity and supplies blended gas to more than 700 Mitchell Park residents. AGIG plans to expand this operation to another 3000 local households, businesses and schools.  

A much larger 250MW hydrogen plant is proposed at Whyalla by the State Government, as well as plans by other developers around Port Bonython to generate green feedstock for fertiliser and other industrial applications.  

Flinders University researcher Gunther Andersson, Professor of Chemical Physics and Nanotechnology, will be part of the Hydrogen panel discussions.

He says research efforts are focusing on developing technology which will “make hydrogen production from renewable energy sources competitive in the hydrogen market.”

Flinders University Associate Professor Cassandra Star says the new Tonsley Accords should add to the push towards net-zero carbon emissions in South Australia.   

Flinders University has achieved a sustainability goal of sourcing 100% of its electrical power from renewable sources. This includes investment in solar arrays plus a major deal with ENGIE to guarantee supply from one of the state’s largest renewable energy projects, the 119MW Willogoleche Wind Farm in South Australia’s Mid North.

“It is time for South Australia to take another step forwards to leverage advantage from its world-leading clean technology and renewable resources,” says Flinders University Associate Professor Star, Director of the Climate and Sustainability Policy Research group at the College of Business, Government and Law. 

“These innovations will allow South Australia to meaningfully reduce the challenge of energy security, while ensuring equitable access to environmentally sustainable energy,” says Associate Professor Star.  

The two-day Tonsley Future Energy Consortium conference will be held at the Tonsley Innovation District on 10-11 November. 

High school students and other visitors will have a chance to see Australia’s largest hydrogen electrolyser and a ‘Future Energy Taster’ at AGIG’s hydrogen BBQ during tours of Hydrogen Park at Tonsley, which also hosts Australia’s largest rooftop solar array.  

A hydrogen-powered BBQ will be at Future Energy Week at Tonsley, Photo: courtesy AGIG

The summit will also feature Electric and Hydrogen Fuel Cell vehicle displays, other energy displays and STEM facilities – as well as more than 70 speakers. 

Clean energy industry and technology leaders include South Australia’s Clean Energy Transformation with Richard Day, from the Department for Energy and Mining, New Economics and Global Transition with Dr Matthew Ives, a panel on Energy Equity, Energy Security & Environmental Sustainability, and a presentation on a vehicle-to-grid trial by Flinders University and Engie

Future Energy Week involves organisations such as Flinders University, the Department for Education, the Australian Gas Infrastructure Group, AZZO, City of Marion, Department for Energy and Mining, EfficientSee, Engie, RAA, SAGE Group, Tonsley Innovation District, First Nations Clean Energy Network, Chapman Capital Partners, Committee for Adelaide, CORE Innovation Hub, ICN – Department for Industry, Innovation and Science, ifm Efector, Phoenix Contact, SA-H2H™ (South Australian Hydrogen Hubs Inc), Toyota and Westpac.

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