The South Australian government has announced a 15MW hydrogen electrolyser power plant will be constructed near Port Lincoln, in what will be a globally-­significant demonstrator project for the emerging hydrogen energy sector.

Hydrogen infrastructure company Hydrogen Utility (H2U), will begin work with German-­based electrolysis and ammonia specialist thyssenkrupp to deliver the $117.5 million project, with the assistance of a $4.7 million grant and $7.5 million loan from the State Government’s Renewable Technology Fund.

According to the SA government the proposed facility will integrate a portfolio of innovative hydrogen technologies, including a 15MW electrolyser plant, a distributed ammonia production facility, and a 10MW hydrogen-­fired gas turbine and 5MW hydrogen fuel cell, which will both supply power to the grid.

H2U chief executive officer Dr Attilio Pigneri said: “The facility will be an exemplar of the synergies associated with hydrogen and will provide balancing services to the national transmission grid, fast frequency response support to new solar plants under development in the Eyre Peninsula, supply green ammonia and other chemicals to the local farming and aquaculture sectors, and host the demonstration, at scale, of novel supply chain technologies for the export of green hydrogen from Australia to markets in the Asia-­Pacific region.

“The project will provide the perfect training ground for a new wave of green hydrogen professionals. We are very lucky to be able to work with local academic institutions, such as the University of Adelaide, and the local energy market regulator, towards the establishment of training programs for certified operators, technicians and professionals that can support the growth of the industry in Australia, including new ‘pathways to employment’ programs for disadvantaged sectors of the local community,” said Pigneri.

South Australian Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis suggests more renewable energy will mean cheaper power and the ability to store renewables will mean the benefits of that cheap power can be experienced around the clock.

“Hydrogen also offers an opportunity to create a new industry in South Australia where we can export our sun and wind resources to the world,” said Koutsantonis

“South Australia is at the global forefront of a broad range of storage technology, from big batteries, to virtual power plants to pumped hydro – now we will also be home to one of the largest hydrogen production facilities in the world as well.”