The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is supporting a feasibility study into the development of a 40 MW hydrogen hub at the Port of Newcastle in NSW with $1.5m injection.

The study will determine a broad range of potential use cases for green hydrogen, including customer-led studies into mobility, bunkering, energy production, and industrial applications such as renewable ammonia at scale for domestic fertiliser use.

Ultimately, the study will determine the optimal site within the Port for the hub as a springboard for renewable hydrogen to flow within the region and future export.

It will also investigate the potential to scale up hydrogen production for export, leveraging the Port of Newcastle’s existing domestic and international supply chain links.

As it stands, stage one of the project is underpinned by a 40 MW electrolyser, however the study will also consider the future staged scale up of an electrolyser to around 1 GW with the ability to produce up to 150,000 tonnes of hydrogen per year for domestic and export use.

Port of Newcastle is the largest port on Australia’s east coast and currently handles approximately 4,400 ship movements and over 160 million tonnes of cargo annually whilst only utilising less than 50 per cent of its channel capacity.

Its existing export routes to Japan and Korea represent potential renewable hydrogen export markets in the future.


Newcastle’s potential to become major player in hydrogen production

ARENA chief executive officer Darren Miller said if the study proved the project to be feasible, it could enable Newcastle to become a major player in producing clean hydrogen.

“We’re excited to be a part of this feasibility study which presents an opportunity to accelerate the diversification of Port of Newcastle which is crucial as Australia starts its journey to net zero by 2050.”

The project represents ARENA’s second feasibility study for a large-scale hydrogen production project. With funding previously announced for Stanwell to complete a feasibility study for a proposed hydrogen export market located in Gladstone, Queensland.

ARENA has also recently launched its new 2021 Investment Plan with the priority of commercialising clean hydrogen, which aims to support a viable domestic and international clean hydrogen economy.

This move follows ARENA’s announcement this morning of its $3.02m commitment to support Ark Energy’s renewable hydrogen project.

The project will see the development of a 1 MW electrolyser with storage and refuelling infrastructure to fuel five new 140 tonne fuel cell electric trucks.