Rio Tinto, Sumitomo to build hydrogen plant in Australia


From pv magazine Australia

Japan’s Sumitomo Corp. will build a 2.5 MW renewable hydrogen pilot plant in Gladstone, Queensland, as part of Rio Tinto’s plans to trial the use of hydrogen as a replacement for gas in the calcination process.

Rio Tinto, which is trying to minimize carbon emissions at its Yarwun alumina refinery, said the Yarwun Hydrogen Calcination Pilot Demonstration Program will be a first-of-its-kind deployment of hydrogen calcination technology.

The project will consist of a 2.5 MW onsite electrolyzer, a hydrogen storage facility, and the retrofit of a hydrogen-capable burner to one of the refinery’s four calciners, which are the large industrial ovens used in alumina refining. The project will be co-funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

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Sumitomo will own and operate the 2.5 MW electrolyzer and supply the hydrogen to Rio Tinto. No details about the power source for the plant were provided, but Sumitomo said the electrolyzer will have an annual production capacity of more than 250 tons of renewable hydrogen.

The company said it has already completed its front-end engineering and design study (FEED), with construction set to start in 2024. The hydrogen plant is expected to be commissioned in 2025.

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