08/05/2020 - 14:38

BP gets boost for hydrogen plant

08/05/2020 - 14:38

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The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has made its latest contribution to the national hydrogen industry with $1.71 million of funding to BP Australia to progress a feasibility study for its proposed renewable hydrogen and ammonia plant in Geraldton.

BP gets boost for hydrogen plant
Darren Miller says renewable hydrogen represents a significant economic opportunity for Australia. Photo: ARENA

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has made its latest contribution to the national hydrogen industry with $1.71 million of funding to BP Australia to progress a feasibility study for its proposed renewable hydrogen and ammonia plant in Geraldton.

The announcement follows a $70 million funding round opened by ARENA last month to help fast-track the deployment of hydrogen electrolyser technology in Australia.

BP’s proposed facility will investigate producing renewable hydrogen using electrolysis, with a $4.2 million feasibility study expected to complete by February next year.

The BP study, to be supported by GHD Advisory, will deliver a detailed techno-economic evaluation of pilot and commercial scale green ammonia production plants in Geraldton.

This will include an evaluation of the different technologies and process configurations required to manufacture green hydrogen and green ammonia. 

The potential pilot plant will look to produce green hydrogen, using onsite and/or grid-sourced renewable power. This will then be converted into around 20,000 tonnes per annum of green ammonia.

Once developed to commercial scale, this is expected to increase to around 1 million tpa of green ammonia, targeted at domestic and export markets. 

The commercial-scale plant would require around 1.5GW of power. This is expected to be sourced from greenfield renewable power generation, enabling the project to benefit from the advantaged solar and wind resource in the region.

Lightsource BP, a 50:50 joint venture between Lightsource and BP, in the funding, development and long-term management of solar projects, will provide and advise on the renewable power solutions.

ARENA chief executive Darren Miller says renewable hydrogen represents a significant economic opportunity for Australia.

“Australia is a key market for BP and other companies to progress their strategic developments for the future renewable hydrogen industry because of our abundant renewable energy resources and established trade partners,” he said.

“This study presents an important opportunity to support heavy industry to reduce its emissions.

“Early investments in feasibility studies like this will help us to realise the opportunity that renewable hydrogen represents and will ultimately help us to achieve our goal of producing renewable hydrogen and ammonia at a competitive price.”

BP chief operating officer Asia Pacific, Frederic Baudry, says Western Australia has high renewable energy potential.

GHD chief executive Ashley Wright said his company was not waiting for a clean energy future.

"We are building it with our clients and communities. Renewable hydrogen has the potential to be a significant part of the solution by decarbonising a range of industries where it is difficult to meaningfully reduce emissions any other way.”

There are at least 12 feasibility studies under way in WA, while the federal government last week announced $300 million to support the national hydrogen industry.

ARENA has also contributed more than $55 million towards hydrogen initiatives, $28 million towards demonstration, feasibility and pilot projects as well as $22 million to research and development projects.

Applications for the $70 million Hydrogen Deployment Competitive Funding Round opened last month and will close on May 26.

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