06/04/2020 - 14:26

Big businesses weigh hydrogen

06/04/2020 - 14:26

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The two biggest Perth-based resources companies have furthered their interest in hydrogen, with one focused on export potential and the other investigating a more metropolitan project.

Big businesses weigh hydrogen
Elizabeth Gaines says Fortescue wants Australia to be a leader in hydrogen. Photo: Gabriel Oliveira

The two biggest Perth-based resources companies have furthered their interest in hydrogen, with one focused on export potential and the other investigating a more metropolitan project.

Oil and gas producer Woodside Petroleum has signed a deal with a Japanese consortium to study a supply chain to export hydrogen as liquid ammonia.

This will include studying the transition from blue hydrogen, which would be produced from natural gas, to green hydrogen, which would be produced through using renewables to electrolyse water.

The big advantage for Woodside is that ammonia is transported as a liquid, similar to the company’s existing LNG exports.

The Japanese consortium includes JERA Inc, Marubeni Corporation and IHI Corporation, and comes as Japan has prioritised the use of hydrogen in power generation.

It also follows an agreement between Woodside and South Korea's Kogas in September to study the technical feasibility of a green hydrogen pilot project.

“JERA, Marubeni, IHI and Woodside will jointly contribute to studying the application of hydrogen as an energy source, including in the form of ammonia,” Woodside chief executive Peter Coleman said. 

“The partners will consider further joint projects in areas where they identify synergies.

“Woodside and its partners in Japan have forged new energy pathways before and we can do so again, as we expect by 2030 to see large-scale hydrogen production around the world and we intend to be part of that.” 

Also today, Atco and Fortescue Metals Group announced they would build a hydrogen production and vehicle refuelling facility at Atco’s Jandakot operations. 

It will power a fleet of Toyota fuel cell electric vehicles.

The pilot will be used to explore rolling-out wider deployment of hydrogen refuelling across Western Australia.

Fortescue chief executive Elizabeth Gaines said the company wanted to position Australia as a leader in the global hydrogen economy.

“As the world moves towards a lower carbon future, hydrogen has the potential to play a key role in the future energy mix and we want to ensure we remain at the forefront of Australia’s renewable hydrogen industry,” she said.

“Identifying and establishing partnerships is critical to unlocking the future potential of hydrogen and we look forward to working with ATCO to capitalise on the economic opportunities associated with hydrogen and support the development of a competitive hydrogen industry.” 

ATCO Australia managing director Pat Creaghan said the company, which operates the Perth gas distribution network, wanted to accelerate the world’s move to net zero emissions energy.

“ATCO’s Clean Energy Innovation Hub has been generating and testing the use of renewable hydrogen for more than six months in gas blending and power applications,” he said. 

“The hub provides a fantastic base from which to partner with Fortescue to contribute to WA’s burgeoning renewable hydrogen industry.”

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