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ARENA funds hydrogen storage project

Otway Basin

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced $2 million to Lochard Energy for an 18-month feasibility study into large-scale hydrogen production in Victoria’s Otway Basin.

The study, costing $6.3 million in total, is the second stage of Lochard’s H2RESTORE project, which aims to help firm the National Electricity Market (NEM) through the provision of long duration, seasonal energy storage in the form of hydrogen.

ARENA chief executive officer Darren Miller said the project tackles challenging aspects of renewable hydrogen in long duration energy storage.

“Renewable hydrogen has an important role to play in helping Australia reach net zero, but cost-effective storage is a looming challenge for the industry,” he said.

“Solving the storage issue will be critical to enabling renewable hydrogen to be used as a form of long duration energy storage in Australia.”

H2RESTORE will generate hydrogen by electrolysis using excess energy sourced from the NEM and storing it underground.

This will then be converted back into electricity to supply the NEM when demand is high and supply is low.

The feasibility study commenced in early 2024 and builds on a pre-feasibility study conducted by CSIRO and Advisian.

Lochard chief executive officer Tim Jessen welcomed the funding.

“We are thrilled to receive this support from ARENA, which recognises the potential of the H2RESTORE project to transform the way energy is stored and utilised as Australia transitions to net zero emissions,” Jessen said.

“This funding will enable us to do the necessary studies to progress a pilot facility demonstrating Lochard Energy’s capability to store hydrogen underground and provide support for the development of a large-scale commercial facility.”

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