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An Australian first in Wollert: Hydrogen on the horizon

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Max Davies
Max Davies
Max is a journalist for the North Central Review. He joined the paper as a cadet journalist in 2021 and graduated from La Trobe University in 2023. He takes a keen interest in motorsport and the automotive industry.

By Max Davies

AUSTRALIA’S first 100 per cent hydrogen-powered house was unveiled in Wollert earlier this month, marking an important milestone in the development of low-carbon energy solutions.

HyHome, developed by Australian Gas Infrastructure Group, AGIG, in conjunction with Dennis Family Homes, Rinnai and Electrolux, is designed to look and feel like any normal home, but has one difference – many of its appliances run on bottled hydrogen instead of natural gas.

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AGIG chief executive Craig de Laine said HyHome and the associated development of advanced hydrogen-compatible appliances represented a key step forward in the transition to cleaner energy in the home.

“We’ve known of the potential for hydrogen to be part of the renewable energy solution for industry and transport, but to demonstrate that gas appliances in the home can also run entirely on hydrogen is a game-changer,” he said.

“It provides ongoing choice for households, and for the energy transition as it represents an additional source of clean energy to displace emissions and meet our net zero targets.

“HyHome shows that Australians can continue to enjoy the convenience and reliability of gas, while progressively moving towards lower and zero carbon energy sources.”

Rinnai and Electrolux have been involved in the project to develop HyHome’s hydrogen-powered hot water system, cooktop and heating systems, which have been installed in the home using existing methods already in the plumbing industry.

Mr de Laine said current gas appliances could already work safely and effectively with a 10 per cent hydrogen blend into the existing gas supply, however 100 per cent hydrogen compatible appliances have been developed internationally and could be available to Australia in the future.

“It demonstrates that we can safely and reliably supply 100 per cent hydrogen to homes in exactly the same way we do natural gas today, so it shows that the appliances are available so we can get on with the job,” he said.

“Our customers tell us they want to continue to use natural gas today, but transition to renewable gas in the future. This is all about delivering what our customers want and what they’re asking for.”

As the use of hydrogen as an energy source is not yet commonplace in Australia, AGIG also operates ‘hydrogen parks’ in Adelaide and Gladstone, Queensland, that work to produce hydrogen for commercial purposes, including being bottled and distributed for projects like HyHome.

The unveiling of HyHome comes after AGIG’s announcement of a third production plant in the Albury-Wodonga region earlier this year, which will expand the supply of blended renewable hydrogen to thousands of homes and businesses in Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales.

“Over the last 15 years, we’ve been doing a mains replacement program that replaces the old cast iron mains with polyethylene mains for safety reasons,” Mr de Laine said.

“Because of that we now have a world-class gas distribution system in Victoria that is capable of carrying 100 per cent hydrogen at very little additional cost.

“The infrastructure and the pipework into the house can carry 100 per cent hydrogen at very little incremental cost, so if you put that alongside a mandate to install hydrogen-ready appliances, it means when we do want to transition to 100 per cent hydrogen it is a straightforward and seamless process.”

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