Emission Control: Australia and Germany tip an extra $90m into hydrogen supply chain projects
Emission Control is Stockhead’s fortnightly take on all the big news surrounding developments in renewable energy.
In a move to help Australia become a renewable energy superpower, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) tipped a further $50m in funding across four hydrogen projects listed under the German-Australian Hydrogen Innovation and Technology Incubator (HyGATE) initiative on Friday.
The collaboration involves the two countries working together to reduce the cost of producing hydrogen from renewable sources and to stimulate the innovation process in both countries.
After signing a bilateral alliance on hydrogen production and trade in June 2021, both countries committed funding up to $50m and €50m, respectively, to the HyGATE initiative which opened in March 2022.
On Friday, Germany also invested an additional €40m towards the joint initiative focused on establishing a green hydrogen supply chain.
While Australia has the potential to be a world leader in the production and export of clean hydrogen, Germany holds the expertise in hydrogen technology and is planning to import significant quantities of the stuff in the future.
Edify Energy was one of the lucky recipients, receiving $20.74m to construct and operate the Edify Green Hydrogen Project in partnership with Siemens Energy Global to broaden the Australia–Germany supply chain in Townsville, Queensland.
Vast Solar was another, receiving funding of up to $19.48m to work with engineering consultancy Fitchner on the development of a methanol production plant using renewable energy.
The plant will comprise a 10MW electrolyster producing green hydrogen in Port Augusta, South Australia.
Hydrogen electrolyser tech company, Hysata, got $8.98m to develop a new ‘capillary-fed’ electrolyser for the delivery of low-cost hydrogen in Port Kembla, New South Wales.
And ATCO Australia received $800,000 in partnership with Fraunhofer IST and Fraunhofer IEG, for a feasibility study into deploying an electrolyser and ammonia facility in NSW’s Illawarra region.
Minister Bowen and Minister Stark-Watzinger also released a joint summary report on the German-Australian Hydrogen Feasibility Study, which makes clear that a green hydrogen supply chain between Australia and Germany is both feasible and highly desirable.
It also outlines the future actions for Australia and Germany to establish trade in renewable hydrogen between both nations.
The report estimates by 2050, through partnerships like these, Australia’s hydrogen industry could generate $50bn in additional GDP.
Meanwhile, over in WA, the McGowan Government said it will introduce climate change legislation this year to establish a framework for responsible emissions reductions to meet the state’s goal of net zero by 2050.
It means WA will have clear and necessary policies to reduce emissions, helping to mobilise private sector capital for the net zero transition and enhance climate resilience.
While the move was welcome, Greenpeace head of clean transitions Jess Panegyres said the continued expansion of the gas industry – including Woodside’s Burrup Hub project – are jeopardising the state’s clean future.
“This move brings WA in line with other states which have legislated net zero, and is important in creating policy certainty, however the continued expansion of the gas industry is short-sighted and will undermine WA’s ability to meet this important goal,” she says.
Panegyres said the next urgent priority is a plan for the state’s orderly transition out of gas.
“Gas is a fossil fuel that drives dangerous climate change.”
“The McGowan government has already vowed a transition away from coal by 2030, and now it’s time for Western Australia to move away from dirty gas projects, and make meaningful headway on their new and ambitious clean future targets,” she said.
FMG’s green machine, Fortescue Future Industries (FFI), is working with NASDAQ listed zero emission transportation and energy supply company Nikola, to collaborate on the co-development of large-scale US green hydrogen production projects.
The two companies signed an MoU on January 24, a couple of days before US based Plug Power revealed it had pulled out of a JV with FFI on the construction of a green hydrogen electrolyser manufacturing facility in Gladstone – originally announced in late 2021.
The facility is just one part of Twiggy Forrest’s grand plan to deliver 15Mt of green hydrogen production a year by 2030 and includes plans to build wind turbines and solar PV cells.
Under the deal with Nikola, the two companies will evaluate the potential co-development of new green hydrogen production and associated infrastructure projects, with a focus on the Phoenix Hydrogen Hub project being led by Nikola.
Nikola will also assess green hydrogen off-take opportunities from any other green hydrogen projects being pursued by FFI and will supply green hydrogen for any potential projects as a potential off-taker.