Hydrogen policy paying off as South Australia lands new $240m plant
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Hydrogen is finding its home in South Australia as the state starts to realise its goal of developing a world-leading export industry with plans for a $240m project at Port Bonython.
Port Bonython has been earmarked by the South Australian government as one of three export and production hubs for hydrogen in the state, the other two being Port Adelaide and Cape Hardy/Port Spencer.
The Port Bonython hydrogen project is for the world’s largest green ammonia plant, with a capacity 60 times larger than Australia’s current largest hydrogen plant at Tonsley in Adelaide.
“The $240 million demonstrator phase of the project is of global significance, but it is just the precursor to a much larger production and export facility, that could see us also strengthen our energy ties with traditional trading partners,” said South Australia’s premier, Steven Marshall.
Australian company H2U is involved in the ammonia-from-hydrogen demonstrator project.
The project announcement comes a week after the SA government launched its Hydrogen Prospectus outlining investment opportunities for the green fuel in the state.
A planned upgrade of Port Bonython’s existing jetty for $37m is needed to accommodate the new hydrogen-based plant and is funded by the South Australian government.
The premier said improvements to Port Bonython jetty will unlock significant investment and export opportunities for hydrogen in South Australia.
“South Australia’s ambition to create, use and export green hydrogen is getting global attention, and has great potential to create jobs and sustain long-term investment,” the premier said.
“Maintaining this critical piece of infrastructure will unlock further export opportunities in key markets, particularly across Asia, boosting economic activity and creating jobs.”
South Australia’s government is working with Australian company H2U to establish connections with international customers for hydrogen.
Australian company Global Energy Ventures (ASX:GEV) has commissioned naval architects to design a vessel capable of shipping compressed hydrogen for delivery to export customers in Asia.
In its initial phase, the hydrogen project at Port Bonython, called the H2U Eyre Peninsula Gateway Hydrogen Project, will lead to the building of a 75MW electrolyser at the nearby steel town of Whyalla.
This electrolyser will have a production capacity for ammonia of 40,000 tonnes per year. Production at the plant begins in 2022.
The South Australian government has set an energy policy target of net 100 per cent renewable energy generation by 2050, and hydrogen is part of this plan.
“South Australia has big hydrogen ambitions as we aim to be a national and international exporter of clean power, and this internationally significant project in the Eyre Peninsula will see our state take the lead on the deployment of clean, green hydrogen,” SA minister for trade and investment, Stephen Patterson, said.
“Japan in particular has identified green ammonia as a key fuel to reduce their carbon emissions and fuel their economy, and we are keen to contribute to that.”
Only a week ago, Japan stunned the world when its prime minister announced plans for the country to achieve net zero carbon emissions in its economy by 2050.
Tokyo’s policy change has a direct impact on high carbon content fuels such as coal and gas, and opens the door to carbon-free fuels like hydrogen.
“In the energy sector, Japan is leading the way with their plan to introduce green ammonia as a substitute fuel, to help meet its decarbonisation targets,” said H2U chief executive, Dr Attilio Pigneri.