Australian Future Energy has hit a clean hydrogen milestone after reaching an investment and partnering agreement with Japan’s ITOCHU Corporation.

The Memorandum of Understanding with one of Japan’s leading trading companies was described by chief executive officer Kerry Parker as the “pivot point” for Australia’s hydrogen industry and the company’s Gladstone Energy and Ammonia Project (GEAP).

GEAP will take coal and put it through a proven gasification process technology to produce hydrogen contained in ammonia and pipeline gas.

Importantly, the project will focus on utilising the carbon dioxide rather than just storing it underground.

The $1bn project, which is now close to commencing its front end engineering design (FEED) study, will produce about 230,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) of ammonia and 14 PJ of pipeline gas, roughly equal to about 91,000tpa of hydrogen.

It comes as China, Japan and Korea ramp up investment into fuel cell electric vehicles.

“We are now at a turning point for the Gladstone Energy and Ammonia Project. Potential international investment in the project, from a party as credible as ITOCHU, demonstrates its long-term viability and profitability,” Parker noted.

“ITOCHU Corporation has a history of shrewd energy and resource investments in Australia, and we are incredibly proud to partner with them on this important project.”

He added that GEAP will not only deliver long-term job opportunities for Central Queensland, it will also act as a major enabler and aggregator of smaller scale green hydrogen projects being proposed in and around the Gladstone region.


Japanese muscle

Under the MoU, ITOCHU will explore the potential investment in AFE, which will use the proceeds to support part of the FEED and related works for the GEAP feasibility study.

Both parties will also work together to explore the potential for ITOCHU to market ammonia and other produced products as well as explore the potential for developing and integrating green ammonia, green hydrogen and other renewable energy related projects in connection with the development of GEAP.

Additionally, joint work will be carried out for ITOCHU to make further investments in either AFE or GEAP once the feasibility study is completed.

This article was developed in collaboration with Australian Future Energy, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.

 This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.