First test for hydrogen to provide new export energy source

The first pilot project for the mass creation of hydrogen from coal for export has broken ground in the Latrobe Valley, Victoria.

Conducted by a consortium of Japanese industry heavyweights, including Kawasaki Heavy Industry, J-Power, Iwatani Corporation, Sumitomo Corporation, and Marubeni Corporation, the Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC) pilot, will lay the groundwork for a developed hydrogen sector in Australia for local and international consumption.

At the Latrobe Valley site, brown coal will be turned into hydrogen via a gasification facility. The hydrogen gas will be piped to the Port of Hastings, where liquification will take place, so the hydrogen can be exported to Japan. The end use of the element will be in the manufacture of fuel cell vehicles and for power generation.

The gasification site will be constructed at AGL’s Loy Yang power station in Traralgon.

According to a statement from the Victorian government, the project aims to grow local industry knowledge and expertise in the production and use of hydrogen, as well as increasing jobs in the local community.

Minister for Economic Development, Tim Pallas, opened the site on November 7.

“We are proud to back this world-first first project which will put Victoria at the forefront of the global hydrogen industry,” he said.

If successful, the plant will move to a commercial phase, which will potentially take advantage of the projected $2.5 trillion hydrogen industry by 2050. J-Power Chairman, Masayoshi Kitamura, noted that the project will influence the shape of the future hydrogen industry.

“We are very pleased to announce that work has commenced on the gasification plant for the Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain pilot project, a pivotal world-first initiative aimed to safely produce and transport clean hydrogen from Victoria’s Latrobe Valley to Japan,” he said.