Victorian-manufactured hydrogen gen-sets to provide backup power for five Telstra towers


Energys says its 10 kW (AC) Hydrogen Fuel Cell Generators have been designed and manufactured in Mulgrave, Victoria, and that construction on its green hydrogen production facility has already begun, with its location and details to be announced “in coming weeks.”

Alongside this generation facility, Energys says it is expanding its hydrogen equipment manufacturing facility in Mulgrave, aiming for 50 MW of fuel cell products annually as part of its phase 1 expansion. The dates for this phase 1 expansion, however, have not been made public.

Energys’ ventures have been supported by grant funding from the Victorian government, which has put $1,115,185 (USD 730,000) towards the Telstra Renewable Hydrogen Fuel Cell Generator Pilot at Mobile Sites project. 

The pilot will see Energys’ 10 kW fuel cell systems deployed at Telstra’s telecommunications towers in Coldstream, Kinglake, Christmas Hills, Chum Creek, and Neerim North – all of which have a history of storm-related power blackouts. The systems are intended to be a “drop-in zero emissions replacement” for the diesel generators currently being used at those sites.

The hydrogen systems from Energys are set to provide 72 hours of backup power to the sites, according to the Victorian government. Telstra is also set to power its five fuel cells using green hydrogen from Energys, though specifics on how this parallel hydrogen fuel supply deal will work have not been provided.

“This Hydrogen Fuel Cell Pilot at five mobile base stations in Victoria will provide us with valuable data and experience of this emerging technology and how it may help to power telecommunications into the future,”  Telstra Group’s Executive for Global Networks and Technology, Nikos Katinakis, said.

Energys’ Victorian manufacturing 

Energys’ says its third-generation Hydrogen Fuel Cell Generator is part of a range of zero-emissions power products designed and manufactured in Victoria – and that it is the result of seven years of research and development. 

The system, it added, has been designed “specifically for large-scale manufacture using Energys’ proprietary engine design,” with the company claiming the product is one of the world’s leading mass-producible hydrogen gen-sets commercially available today.

Energys Managing Director, Dr Roger Knight, says that alongside solid products, it is vital to have a strong supply chain to deliver in volume. “We have that, and much of it is local,” he said.

Like many hydrogen plays, Energys is targeting the diesel replacement market – though its focus isn’t solely on diesel for transport but also in applications like backup gen-sets for remote areas. “The diesel generator market is over USD 20 billion [$31.5 billion] per annum,” Knight said. “That’s an enormous demand for fossil-fuel-based generators that must be phased out.”

Energys’ green hydrogen production facility 

In terms of Energys hydrogen production facility, little is known, though the company says it is “already under construction,” noting the location and details of the facility will be announced in coming weeks. The facility will use electrolysis, Energys says, though it has not specified whether it will establish its own renewable energy projects to power this or simply use energy from the grid with renewable energy certificates.

In its announcement, Energys included a note about its hydrogen production facility, saying “$1m grant for $4m project cost,” though it is not entirely clear if this is on top of the $1.15 million the Victorian government has allocated for the Telstra pilot or refers to the same sum.

Either way, funding was provided as part of the Victorian government’s $6.6 million Renewable Hydrogen Commercialisation Pathways Fund.

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