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Solar "powerfuels" set to decarbonise Australia's gas sector 

Australian renewable natural gas (RNG) project developer Southern Green Gas Ltd (SGG) has announced that it has entered into a partnership with Italy-headed Enapter S.r.l, an international manufacturer of modular hydrogen generators, to jointly develop solar "powerfuels" in Australia.

Enapter’s patented anion exchange membrane (AEM) electrolyser is a standardized, stackable, and flexible system to produce on-site hydrogen. The modular design – paired with advanced software integration – allows set up in minutes and remote control and management (photo courtesy Enapter).

Solar “powerfuels” are synthetic, gaseous, or liquid fuels produced from renewable energy sources and according to the duo, they are the “missing link” to bring renewable energy to the heating, transport, and industry sector for domestic and export use.

Enapter manufactures highly efficient, modular hydrogen generators using Anion Exchange Membrane (AEM) electrolysis, and its systems are used in industries like telecommunications, mobility, and energy around the world.

With a 10-year proven track record, its core technology is the foundation for the unique low-cost, compact electrolyser. The EL 2.0 is fully stackable and easy to integrate with the Energy Management System.

Plans for a demo project in Queensland

Southern Green Gas proposes to showcase its solar powerfuel at a demonstration project in southern Queensland (QLD). The project will comprise solar electricity to power an Enapter EL 2.0 that splits water into its component gases, hydrogen, and oxygen.

The green hydrogen is then combined with carbon dioxide (CO2) extracted directly from the air to create renewable methane aka synthetic natural gas (SNG).

In Australia, solar irradiation levels are amongst the highest in the world and Southern Green Gas says that it assessed all the available suppliers of electrolysers globally.

Solar is an incredible success story in Australia and globallyWe now have the technology to capture solar energy in the form of 100 percent sustainable methane gas which is more easily stored and distributed than electricity. We have been scanning the market for a suitable partner and are convinced that Enapter’s solution is a perfect fit for our approach, said Rohan Gillespie, Managing Director of Southern Green Gas.

The partnership was announced just days after the Energy Networks Australia released a report confirming that injection of hydrogen into the gas distribution network can be done under current gas legislation providing confidence for investors and businesses in the space.

We are very excited about this partnership. The scale of the project allows us to reduce prices for our hydrogen electrolysers to extremely compelling levels. Ultimately this solution could create a major export market, and ultimately allow Australia to become self-sufficient in transport fuels, said Sebastian-Justus Schmidt, Chairman of Enapter.

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