Remote telecom towers powered by 10 kW hydrogen generators

An Australian-made, 10 kW renewable hydrogen generator has been installed 120 km east of Melbourne, as part of a pilot project to provide backup to telecom towers disabled by outages.

From pv magazine Australia

Hydrogen fuel cell manufacturer Energys Australia has had on one of its 10 kW renewable hydrogen generators installed at Neerim North, 120 km east of Melbourne, as part of a AUD 1.1 million ($740,000) pilot project with Telstra.

The generator is installed with a Telstra mobile tower and equipped with enough renewable hydrogen for a minimum 72-hour running capacity, if the tower is disabled. Energys Australia said it is currently sourcing hydrogren for its generators from an undisclosed location in Victoria.

Victorian Minister for Energy and Resources Lily D’Ambrosio said Victoria’s Gas Substitution Roadmap confirms that renewable hydrogen will play a critical, targeted role in the energy transition by strengthening energy resilience.

Telstra Integrated Network, Facilities and Environment Executive Vicki Romanovski said the Telstra network and other infrastructure are vulnerable to extreme weather events.

“Renewable hydrogen is an alternative energy option that could help keep our customers connected. The pilot will help us determine its future role in this space,” Romanovski said.

The Telstra pilot project hydrogen fuel cells were manufactured by Energys Australia at their Mulgrave, Victoria factory and will also see hydrogen fuel cells installed at the Coldstream, Kinglake, Christmas Hills and Chum Creek communities which have experienced telecommunication outages due to extreme storms.

The pilot was funded through the AUD 6.6 million Renewable Hydrogen Commercialisation Pathways Fund.

Energys was also the recipient of a AUD 1 million Commercialisation Pathways Fund to develop the Energys Renewable Hydrogen Production facility that will produce renewable hydrogen via electrolysis for use in transportation and for applications needing an alternative to diesel.

At an estimated final cost of AUD 3.3 million, the facility is said to be under construction in Melbourne and will comprise a 1 MW electrolyzer with compression and storage together with dispensing facilities for tube trailers, or trucks that haul gaseous hydrogen and man packs, or industrial grade hydrogen cylinders.

New York-headquartered hydrogen company Plug Power is listed as a proponent in the Energys Renewable Hydrogen Production Facility. It is  also currently partnered in Australia with Allied Green Ammonia for a 3 GW electrolyzer project in the Northern Territory and to supply two 5 MW proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyzer systems for green hydrogen projects in Tasmania.

According to a CSIRO outline of the Energys Australia production facility, the renewable energy for their electrolyzer will be sourced via the grid primarily during low demand/low price periods, to help reduce the cost of hydrogen production and contribute to grid stability.

Operations are anticipated to start in 2024, with key hydrogen components ordered and discussions with potential offtakers underway.

This post appeared first on PV Magazine.

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