The Hydrogen Stream: Australia takes the spotlight with 1.7 GW project in Tasmania and new tech to produce hydrogen from rooftop PV

Elsewhere, Portugal’s EDP has unveiled plans to deploy 1.5 GW of green hydrogen capacity and, in Spain, several projects have been announced by Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV), Iberdrola, Solaria Energía and Enagás.

Australian energy company Woodside Petroleum has secured land for its proposed H2TAS hydrogen plant in Tasmania. “H2TAS is a phased development with the potential to support up to 1.7 gigawatts (GW) of electrolysis for hydrogen and ammonia production. The initial phase would have capacity of up to 300 megawatts (MW) and target production of 200,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) of ammonia, matched to forecast customer demand,” wrote the company on Friday, adding that ammonia would be produced by hydropower and wind power. The main focus is on export, but the company also speaks about domestic use. “H2TAS is already garnering interest from existing and prospective Woodside customers in Asia and Europe,” Woodside CEO Meg O’Neill commented. In May, Woodside teamed up with Japan’s Marubeni and IHI to export ammonia to Japan. Woodside is aiming to take a final investment decision for H2TAS in 2023. Construction and commissioning activities are expected to take around 24 months. In October, Woodside Petroleum unveiled plans to establish an export-oriented hydrogen and ammonia production facility in southern metropolitan Perth.

Energy consultancy Xodus and Perth-based metals manufacturing company Unique Metals announced a memorandum of understanding for the Unique HyMetals hydrogen project in Australia. “Unique HyMetals will enable the company to rebalance and optimise energy from rooftop solar and use it to transform water into hydrogen, which can then be used at times when solar is not feasible or unused. Furthermore, there will be zero waste, as the resulting oxygen, which is often considered a by-product of the process, will be captured and used for manufacturing activities such as laser cutting and oxyacetylene welding,” Xodus wrote on its website. The companies expect to start construction activities for internal usages in 2022 and plan investments in commercial-scale refueling infrastructure in 2025.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) announced that the Australian government and Queensland state awarded Korea Zinc A$21 million (€13.37 million) in funding to start producing green hydrogen for fuel cell trucks at the company’s zinc refinery in Queensland. The project will be located at the Sun Metals zinc refinery in Townsville, which is owned by Ark’s sister company Sun Metals Corporation (SMC). Ark and SMC are subsidiaries of Korea Zinc, the largest zinc, lead, and silver producer in the world. SMC’s zinc refinery is currently the second-largest single-site consumer of electricity in Queensland. After funding directed to light vehicle transport projects, ARENA now wants to focus on ultra-heavy fuel cell electric trucks.

Australia’s focus on heavy-duty vehicles came amidst similar developments in Europe. French oil and gas company TotalEnergies and Germany’s commercial vehicle manufacturer Daimler Truck have signed an agreement to team up in sourcing and logistics, dispensing of hydrogen in service stations, developing hydrogen-based trucks, and establishing a customer base. “The partners will collaborate in the development of ecosystems for heavy-duty trucks running on hydrogen, with the intent to demonstrate the attractiveness and effectiveness of trucking powered by clean hydrogen and the ambition to play a lead role in kickstarting the rollout of hydrogen infrastructure for transportation,” TotalEnergies wrote on Wednesday.

Siemens Gamesa’s Brande Hydrogen pilot project in Denmark produced its first green hydrogen as part of the testing and commissioning phase. “Project partner Everfuel is distributing this to hydrogen stations in Denmark, enabling a growing number of zero emission vehicles, such as fuel cell taxis, to operate on a 100% green fuel supply,” the renewable energy developer wrote earlier this week, calling it the “world’s first project capable of producing green hydrogen directly from wind, in island mode.” The Brande Hydrogen setup couples an existing onshore Siemens Gamesa SWT 3.0-113 DD wind turbine with an electrolyzer stack from electrolysis partner Green Hydrogen Systems. Siemens Gamesa is also using the Brande Hydrogen site, which can also operate connected to the grid, to explore the potential of integrating battery technology in the turbine-electrolyzer project.

European ports continue to announce investments in hydrogen infrastructures. Energy storage assets startup Global Energy Storage (GES) has announced its first investment at Europoort in the Port of Rotterdam. “It is buying an interest in part of the assets of the Stargate Terminal from Gunvor Group and will develop more than 20 hectares at the heart of the port,” GES wrote on Thursday. “The deal has been formally approved by the Port of Rotterdam Authority. The site includes a significant waterfront with deep water access, brownfield development opportunities and potential greenfield development sites.” Launched in May this year, Guernsey-headquartered GES is backed by Bluewater, a private equity firm focused on the middle-market energy sector. “Alongside a new jetty that we aim to develop and low-carbon commodity infrastructure, we are also looking to become part of the logistics chain needed to import blue and green hydrogen,” commented CEO Peter Vucins.

The Maritime Cluster of Cantabria – MarCA – has presented the consortium that will launch the Green Hydrogen Cantabria renewable energy project, formed by 26 companies and regional institutions. With an estimated budget of between €26.2 and €28.3 million, the creation of the Green Hydrogen Cantabria consortium makes it possible to begin the financing process. “Specifically, the consortium plans to raise national and European funds to promote the development of this pilot project,” MarCa wrote on Wednesday, adding that a change in legal and regulatory framework is needed to facilitate the mass deployment of the technology.

As anticipated, EDP Renewables (EDPR), the renewable energy arm of Portugal’s Energias de Portugal (EDP), whose largest shareholder is state-owned energy company China Three Gorges, pledged to invest in renewable hydrogen projects that will secure an additional 1.5 GW of capacity by 2030. With the announcement, made on Tuesday during the COP26, EDPR joined the H2Zero initiative.

Last week, Solaria Energía and Enagás announced the signing of an agreement to study the potential joint development of a green hydrogen plant. The project envisages up to 200 MWp of solar photovoltaic energy for the production of green hydrogen.

Also last week, Vectalia, Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV), Iberdrola, and Aguas de Alicante kicked off the HyVus project consortium, which includes the generation of green hydrogen that will power part of the fleet of Vectalia buses, as well as vehicles of other operators. The plant will be connected directly to a 1.25 MW PEM electrolyzer, which should produce around 345 kg/day (15 hours of operation per day). The project will include construction of a refueling station for heavy hydrogen vehicles at 350 bar pressure. The four companies plan to apply for Next Generation funds.

 

 

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