Australia’s first large-scale hybrid energy storage system

The rise of hydrogen

The rise of hydrogen

Australia’s first large-scale hybrid energy storage system – using lithium batteries and hydrogen fuel cells – will be installed at a $200m solar farm to be built in south-east Queensland by Risen Energy Group and Providence Asset Group.

UNSW Professor Dong and his team who are involved in developing the system, together with researchers from UTS and Providence Asset Group is working on a solution using artificial intelligence to manage and smooth out the intermittency of renewable energy, balance out supply and demand, and allow the storage and use of excess renewable energy where and when needed.

UNSW Scientia Professor Professor Rose Amal said that hydrogen’s time had come and that it could contribute $1.7 billion annually to the Australian economy by 2030, driven domestically and by demand for sustainable green hydrogen in Japan, South Korea, China and Europe.

Australia is well placed to take the lead on hydrogen technologies, she says.

“Australia has plenty of sunshine and we lead the world in solar technology. The use of hydrogen technology to store renewable energy at this solar farm is just one opportunity for Australia in the global hydrogen market.”

She added Australia was well positioned to lead the world in hydrogen generation and transport and that UNSW researchers, along with industry partners and other universities, were working to highlight the magnitude of the opportunity to capitalise on Australia’s strengths and not miss out on a lucrative opportunity for the country.

UNSW Professor Nicholas Fisk commented that UNSW Sydney was already a world leader in renewable energy research, but that the challenge to efficiently, stably and affordably generate, store and distribute sustainable electric power could not be achieved without significant investment and the contributions of partner organisations which include Providence Asset Group, Powerlink Queensland, CSIRO, H2Store Pt Ltd, University of Technology Sydney, Risen Solar Technology, and Sungrow Power.

In related moves, UNSW is pursuing new partnerships to realise the potential of smart cities and hybrid energy storage systems to power them.

UNSW Sydney will lead Australia’s first fully integrated smart city trial in partnership with Providence Asset Group and Tamworth City Council.

The trial will be the first based on Internet of Things (IoT) technologies and include applications across transport, energy, health, telecommunications and other community services. Previous trials have incorporated only energy systems and are based on older technology on individual user cases instead of an integrated approach.

Professor Joe Dong, Director of the UNSW Digital Futures Grid Institute, is leading the research at UNSW and said the aim for the Tamworth Smart City project was to build the IT systems that would monitor and control data flowing through “smart” services, using the wireless network.

Using existing IoT infrastructure provided seamless integration of IoT devices, from home appliances and utility monitors to council services such as waste management, lighting and parking, and asset security, to health services like remote patient monitoring.

“Imagine having an app on your computer or phone that gives you your electricity usage and cost information in real time, and also tells you how some slight change of usage pattern of appliances such as the washing machine could most effectively save electricity bills,” Professor Dong said. 

“You could have other apps on the smart network for a variety of purposes – such as wearable health monitors that alert your medical practitioners should you need to go and see them or live transport and traffic monitoring to give you alternative routes as soon as a hazard occurs.

“If we can prove that our solution works, the potential benefits are endless,” said Professor Dong, hoping this might provide a template for other smart cities in Australia in the future.

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