Last year we announced AGL would be participating in a Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC) project as part of a major collaborative initiative between leading Australian and Japanese companies, and the Victorian, Australian and Japanese Governments.
This project has an important role to play in government and industry’s efforts to responsibly transition to a secure, economically viable, low carbon energy future.
On Friday 19 July, consortium partners were present at Bluescope Steel’s Hastings liquefaction plant for a turning of the sod event.
In attendance, Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas, the Hon Matthew Canavan, Federal Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, the Hon. Simon Birmingham, Federal Minister for Trade, Tourism Minister and Australia’s chief scientist Dr Alan Finkel. Consortium delegates from KHI, J-Power, Iwatani, Marubeni, and AGL were also in attendance.
What does the pilot involve?
The Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC) project will convert brown coal from the AGL Loy Yang mine into hydrogen at an adjacent site and then transport the gas by road to a liquefaction and loading terminal at the Port of Hastings. Once converted to liquid, hydrogen will be shipped to Japan using a world first innovative purpose-built carrier.
What is AGL’s involvement?
AGL will provide in-kind support for the HESC pilot project including the land for the plant and up to 160 tonnes of brown coal. Construction works on the pilot plant site at Loy Yang will start this month.
The pilot phase of the project will see a plant constructed at the AGL Loy Yang site where brown coal will be gasified and then transported to a liquefaction and loading terminal at the Port of Hastings. Once converted to liquid, hydrogen will be shipped to Japan using a world first innovative purpose-built carrier.
In addition to this project, AGL has established a Hydrogen working group and is investigating renewable to hydrogen energy solutions as well.
What impact will this project have on carbon emissions?
It is expected that during commercial operations, HESC will require a Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) solution, however this will not be a feature of the pilot phase, due to the low volumes of CO2 involved, equivalent to the annual emissions of about 20 cars.
Rather, Carbon offsets will be used to mitigate emissions for the pilot phase.
If the pilot is successful, CCS will be an essential component of the commercial phase.
What are some of the expected benefits of the project?
If the pilot is successful, a new Australian hydrogen export industry has the potential to create significant employment opportunities, boost Australia’s economy, and provide access to a future clean energy source for Australian domestic energy use.
The HESC Project has the potential to create a sustainable solution for the use of brown coal deposits (and other renewable sources moving forward) that does not contribute to carbon emissions. Through this project, Australia could be the first to create a commercially viable global supply chain for hydrogen, which is in growing demand globally.