EvoEnergy is investigating ways to convert the Natual Gas Infrastructure to renewable gas. Renewable gas comes from the conversion of organic waste to methane and hydrogen produced from renewable electricity. The investigation includes an experimental project at the Fyshwick CIT campus. Members of the ACT Energy Consumer Reference Council (ECRC) received a briefing and toured the facilities. The following are some questions and answers from the briefing.
Is there a website with more information?
www.futurefuelscrc.com has extensive background information.
Sign up to EvoEnergy portal and send your questions directly to Evoenergy.
How important is Natural Gas to ACT consumers?
During the winter Natural Gas supplies two-thirds of the energy used by households in the ACT. Replacing gas with electricity would require an expensive upgrade of the electricity network and electricity is more expensive than using natural gas for heating.
Can the Natural Gas Network use gas from Renewable sources?
The test facility at Fyshwick is investigating whether the existing gas network can use hydrogen. The early indications are that the ACT gas network can handle hydrogen as most of the network is made from plastic pipes. The network can use 10% hydrogen without any change and can use methane from renewable sources without change.
Are there precedents for changing from one form of gas to another?
Before natural gas, the gas networks in Australian cities used town gas. Town gas was created from coal and has different properties compared to natural gas. The town gas networks were converted successfully.
Could households generate their own hydrogen for their own use?
They could but it would be more expensive and more dangerous. It would be better to install neighborhood or town conversion facilities and use the gas network to deliver the hydrogen.
What are some of the issues with using Hydrogen instead of natural gas?
Hydrogen is odourless and leaks are difficult to detect. However, hydrogen is lighter than air while natural gas is heavier and so leaking gas does not accumulate. Hydrogen can be mixed with methane that has an odour and so it is easier to detect leaks. When the gas consists of more than 10% hydrogen appliance burners have to be replaced or adjusted.