Abel Energy and Iberdrola Australia, operating as Bell Bay Powerfuels, have unveiled plans to repurpose the defunct Bell Bay Power Station in northern Tasmania into a significant hydrogen and green methanol production site. This initiative aims to meet the burgeoning demand for green methanol in Australia and the nascent shipping industry market.
The initial phase of the project will see the construction of a 140 MW electrolyser to generate green hydrogen, which will be converted into green methanol using carbon sourced from forestry wood waste. The facility will have the capability to produce roughly 200,000 tonnes of green methanol each year for local and international clientele. Plans for future expansion include a 240 MW electrolyser unit that can yield up to 300,000 tonnes of green methanol per annum.
The strategy of Bell Bay Powerfuels is to tap into as much as 700 MW of new renewable energy generation within the state to support this project. The company plans to keep and repurpose the existing infrastructure at the power station and employ the deep-water berth for transport. The front-end engineering and design (FEED) phase is expected to commence in the following months, with the anticipation of achieving commercial operation by 2027.
Michael van Baarle, the CEO of Abel Energy, expressed his enthusiasm for the project, stating that it symbolizes the dawn of a unique era for renewable energy in Tasmania. He envisions the project establishing Tasmania as a global leader in the production of green methanol, a fuel expected to play a significant role in the future of the shipping industry.
Iberdrola, a significant player in Australia’s renewable energy market, is likely to develop the renewable energy assets that will power the electrolyser. Hydro Tasmania is projected to supply firming capacity, with a new wind farm likely to be the primary renewable power source for the project.
Ross Rolfe, Chairman and CEO of Iberdrola Australia, emphasized the company’s dedication to providing decarbonization solutions for commercial and industrial customers in sectors that are challenging to decarbonize. Alongside its partnership with Bell Bay Powerfuels, Iberdrola plans to offer technical and commercial support to utilize its local market know-how and global expertise in this emerging technology.
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