Australia to Build its First 100% Hydrogen-Ready Pipeline

APA Group to transform 43 kilometres of Parmelia Gas Pipeline to a 100% hydrogen-ready pipeline; project to cost the Group an estimated $3 million

Another pipeline project by APA Group in West Australia, Credit: APA Group’s website

Australia has given the green signal to develop its first transmission pipeline that will be operated on a 100% hydrogen-ready basis. APA Group, an energy infrastructure business based in Australia has taken responsibility to transform 43 kilometres of the Parmelia Gas Pipeline (which runs for 416 kilometres across West Australia) into a pipeline which will ship hydrogen exclusively.

The project will be realised in three phases. The first phase includes laboratory research and testing of materials for embrittlement. The second phase will oversee the development of safe operation guidelines. The final phase will involve testing on-site at a large scale. Collaborating with the APA Group on this project is the Future Fuels Cooperative Research Centre and the University of Wollongong. The entire project will cost the APA Group $3 million. APA Group expects that it will be able to complete the three phases by the end of next year.

Rob Wheals, APA Group Chief Executive and Managing Director, said: “As a proud Australian business, APA is excited to be bringing international best practice to Australia in this national first, which we expect will test and prove the capacity of the existing gas transmission pipeline network to transport hydrogen in pure form or blended with natural gas. With billions of dollars invested in gas infrastructure across the country, it makes sense to look at ways to use our existing energy infrastructure to support Australia’s transition to a low carbon future. In fact, studies have shown that continuing to use gas infrastructure can reduce emissions at half the cost to customers than electrifying the services provided by gas.”

The project will spearhead APA Group’s Pathfinder Program, a new initiative focused on exploring energy solutions of the future. Given the project’s sensitivity, the Group will work closely with West Australia’s Economic Regulation Authority and the government to ensure the safety of hydrogen transmission pipelines. Another concern is the project’s economic viability. APA Group’s Executive for Transformation and Technology, Hannah McCaughey noted that the Parmelia Gas Pipeline was being used by the Kwinana industrial zone in South Perth. A number of customers already use hydrogen as an agent in industrial processing and as a natural gas.