Green light for Australian renewable hydrogen project


From pv magazine Australia

The government of Queensland, Australia, has confirmed that green hydrogen will be produced in the state's Darling Downs region in less than two years, with a “unique” demonstration facility capable of producing an estimated 50,000 kilograms of solar-powered renewable hydrogen each year to be operating before the end of 2023.

Queensland Energy Minister Mick de Brenni said the Kogan Hydrogen Demonstration Plant, to be developed by government-owned generator CS Energy, will go ahead after a successful feasibility study with Japan's IHI Corp.

De Brenni said the facility would be built beside the existing Kogan Creek Power Station and would include the co-location of a solar farm, battery energy storage system, hydrogen electrolyzer and a hydrogen fuel cell. The minister said the project is unique because the facility will be powered exclusively by behind-the-meter solar energy, making it one of the few truly green hydrogen projects in Australia.

CS Energy CEO Andrew Bills said the feasibility study had confirmed the optimum design of the renewable hydrogen plant and that Kogan Creek Power Station was a good location with existing assets and plenty of space for expansion opportunities.

“This project offers multiple benefits for CS Energy because of hydrogen’s ability to be used as both a fuel and as a way to store energy,” he said. “In addition to selling hydrogen into the domestic market, CS Energy can use the plant’s battery to provide grid stability services in the Frequency Control Ancillary Services (FCAS) Market.”

Construction on the Kogan Creek facility is expected to commence in 2022, with commissioning scheduled in early 2023.

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The announcement comes amid a flurry of green hydrogen activity in the state. Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) announced plans on Monday to establish a 2 GW green hydrogen manufacturing facility near Gladstone, in central Queensland.

That was followed by FFI teaming with fertilizer and chemical manufacturer Incitec Pivot to announce that they will “assess whether industrial-scale manufacturing of green ammonia at Gibson Island is technically and commercially feasible on an existing brownfield site.” The two companies will examine whether a new electrolysis plant at Incitec’s Gibson Island facility near Brisbane can produce about 50,000 tons of renewable hydrogen per year, which would then be converted into green ammonia for Australian and export markets.

Incitec CEO Jeanne Johns said the partnership was considered one of Australia’s best near-term opportunities to produce green ammonia at an industrial scale.

“The combination of FFI’s drive to develop a globally competitive green hydrogen industry, and our leadership and technical skills in ammonia production, will play an important role in developing Australia’s capability in this growing international market,” said Johns.

That announcement was followed on Tuesday by Rio Tinto signing a statement of cooperation with the Queensland government to investigate off-take agreements for large-scale renewable energy projects to power its assets, including the Boyne Island aluminum smelter near Gladstone.

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