South Australia launches $175 million hydrogen project

Out-Law News | 17 Nov 2020 | 12:28 am | 1 min. read

The South Australian government has launched a massive $175m (A$240m) green hydrogen project.

H2U Eyre Peninsula Gateway hydrogen project would be "the largest green ammonia plant in the world, being sixty times larger than Australia’s largest electrolyser at Tonsley in Adelaide", according to a government statement.

It is due to be built by the end of 2022. The South Australian government is allocating $26.5m (A$37m) in the 2020/2021 state budget to upgrade the Port Bonython jetty.

A 75-megawatt (MW) electrolyser to be installed near Whyalla at the initial stage, with a capability of producing sufficient hydrogen to create 40,000 tons of ammonia each year.

Premier Steven Marshall said upgrading the jetty would "unlock significant investment and export opportunities for South Australia", and said the project is "the precursor to a much larger production and export facility". South Australia’s minister for trade and investment Stephen Patterson claimed the state had “big hydrogen ambitions”, with the goal of becoming a national and international exporter of clean power, according to a government's report.

According to H2U chief executive officer Attilio Pigneri, the project will help drive the development of the emerging markets for green hydrogen and green ammonia. It also offers the opportunity to "export South Australia’s abundant solar and wind resources to support deep decarbonisation in the global energy, industrial and shipping sectors".

George Varma, an expert in renewable energy at Pinsent Masons, the firm behind Out-Law, said, “South Australia continues to forge ahead in the hydrogen race with the development of one of the largest green ammonia plants in the world. South Australia has ambitious plans to be at the forefront of hydrogen production and endeavours to export hydrogen internationally. With a variety of hydrogen projects already either planned or underway, this is a significant project as it has deployed one of the largest electrolysers on an Australian hydrogen project currently, being a 75MW electrolyser.  This is consistent with the hydrogen growth strategy in the state and the investment support being provided by ARENA, which is supporting projects implementing large-scale electrolysers – 10 MW and above."

"South Australia is positioning itself well in the hydrogen market, with a wide variety of hydrogen projects spanning from hydrogen-gas blending, fuel cell development and green ammonia production. One of the benefits with producing green ammonia, as compared with liquid hydrogen, is that it does not face the transportation challenge that is currently constraining the progression of the global green hydrogen trading market. "

"This project will be of great economic benefit to the state of South Australia and highlights the growth potential of hydrogen in the Australian market,” he said.