Australian energy producer Woodside Petroleum has revealed plans to establish a hydrogen and ammonia facility at a site south of Perth.

Set to be called H2 Perth, the project will be built on about 130 hectares of industrial land and leased from the state in the Kwinana and Rockingham areas. It’s expected to cost around $1b in the first phase.

Woodside says the phased development will be “one of the largest of its kind in the world” and will produce up to 1500 tonnes per day of hydrogen for export in the form of ammonia and liquid hydrogen.

As well as meeting a shared goal of hydrogen export from Western Australia in the second half of the decade, the oil and gas player said on Monday that it aims to support state initiatives to stimulate hydrogen demand in WA, particularly in the transport sector and among local heavy industry.

Local refuelling stations can be built independently of the export project timelines and could operate as early as 2023.

Subject to commercial and regulatory approvals, and a final investment decision, construction is estimated to start in 2024.


Hydrogen and ammonia production

Woodside said the hydrogen and ammonia from H2Perth would be produced “using both electrolysis technologies and natural gas reforming, with 100% of carbon emissions abated or offset”.

The electrolysis component of H2Perth’s production “will have an initial capacity of 250 megawatts, with potential to scale to more than 3 gigawatts (GW) alongside both customer demand and renewable energy growth” and the initial phase of the steam methane reformer will consume 40 terajoules per day of natural gas.

The company said H2Perth will initially target 300 tpd of hydrogen production, or 20% of expected total capacity, which can be converted into 600,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) of ammonia or 110,000 tpa of liquid hydrogen.

It is anticipated that the project will eventually operate electrolysers with a total capacity of more than 3GW. The current registered power generation capacity of Western Australia’s South West Interconnected System is 5.8GW.


Adds to mix of other new energy opportunities

Woodside chief executive officer Meg O’Neill said its LNG exports will continue to help Asia meet its energy needs while reducing greenhouse gas emissions for decades to come.

The land is close to existing gas, power, water and port infrastructure, as well as a skilled local residential workforce.

“These advantages will make a huge difference to cost of supply and schedule and help H2Perth deliver competitively priced hydrogen to customers,” she said.

“Building in this location is not just about hydrogen.

“H2Perth will also facilitate substantial growth of renewables in Western Australia by providing to the grid a flexible and stabilising load that benefits uptake of intermittent renewable electricity by households and local industry.”

H2Perth joins Woodside’s other announced new opportunities, including its proposed renewable hydrogen project in northern Tasmania and the collaboration with Heliogen on breakthrough solar technology.

Woodside will now begin community engagement on the H2Perth project along with detailed progress with customers.