The South Australian government recently announced the plan for building a record 250 MW hydrogen electrolyzer, which is 10 times larger than any currently operating one in the world. The electrolyzer will produce hydrogen from the excess renewable energy produced, which will be later stored in on-site hydrogen storage. The project will be developed near Whyalla, northwest of Adelaide. The plan is to provide help in balancing supply and demand. Modeling of the future operation of the electrolyzer with the power plant is already offered by UK-based Frontier Economics.
The pioneering project will be fully financed by the South Australian government, and costs are estimated at around AU$ 600 million (around US 413 million). The leader of the project is the CEO of the South Australian Office of Hydrogen Power, Sam Crafter. As said by Crafter for Renew Economy, “It will be the launching pad to get to those larger scale projects that the industry is rushing towards”, adding that “So we think that’s an advantage that we have there”. Crafter also added that the energy demand covered by wind and solar power exceeds 69%, and is expected to become 100% in the following years, before the official deadline by 2030. Furthermore, the South Australian government is recognized as a leader in renewable energy technological development.
It is expected that such ambitious projects can help global industry players to come to South Australia and that even larger projects can be attracted. Back in 2021, South Australia succeeded in meeting 100% of its operational demand from renewable energy sources on 180 days.
Although green hydrogen is gaining popularity, it is highly inefficient. An example presents the comparison of hydrogen cars vs. Electric Vehicles (EVs), where EVs are around four times more efficient. Therefore, it is concluded that battery storage may be a more effective and economically viable solution.
The project is expected to be operational by 2025.