16/09/2020 - 15:46

Hydrogen floated for Oakajee

16/09/2020 - 15:46


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Oakajee’s industrial zone could come to life as a hydrogen industry park in a plan to be announced by the state government as early as this week.

Hydrogen floated for Oakajee
Alannah MacTiernan says the Mid West has great solar and wind resources. Photo: Gabriel Oliveira

Oakajee’s industrial zone could come to life as a hydrogen industry park in a plan to be announced by the state government as early as this week.

Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan told a Petroleum Club of WA dinner last night the government hoped to develop Oakajee as a precinct for hydrogen production, or industrial processing using hydrogen as a feedstock.

The industrial estate at Oakajee is 23 kilometers north of Geraldton.

A port development at Oakajee has been mooted for decades, but not yet happened.

Ms MacTiernan said the Oakajee industrial area had been languishing as a set of paddocks for 25 years waiting for an iron ore project.

“We thought we might turn that around and focus on hydrogen,” she said.

“Hopefully we’ll be in a position to make some announcements about that later this week.”

The Mid West generally has high solar radiance and very strong wind, Ms MacTiernan said, and so had significant potential for renewable energy, which could be used to electrolyse water for production of hydrogen.

The area had advantages from an infrastructure perspective, she said.

It was linked into the South West Interconnected System (the state’s main electricity network), had reticulated gas, and was close to the Dampier Bunbury Gas Pipeline.

A further advantage of Oakajee was that buffer zones and other planning work had already been done, Ms MacTiernan said.

Project pipeline

At least four hydrogen-linked projects have already been proposed in the Mid West.

Most recently, ASX-listed Pilot Energy has announced it would undertake a feasibility study for a 1.1-gigawatt offshore wind development, with turbines to be placed off the coast of Geraldton, Cliff Head and Cervantes.

Pilot will spend $1.2 million on the feasibility study.

“The substantial nature of the offshore opportunity in Western Australia also presents the option to supply renewable hydrogen for domestic residential and industrial consumption as well as the potential to supply international markets,” Pilot chair Brad Lingo said in an ASX release.

Infinite Blue Energy is planning a hydrogen plant with output of 25,000 kilograms per year near Arrowsmith.

Eventually, it would scale up to 120,000kg/day for export markets.

BP secured $1.7 million for feasibility at a proposed renewable hydrogen and ammonia plant in Geraldton.

Contractor GHD is undertaking the work for BP.

Woodside and APA Group have applied for Australian Renewable Energy Agency funding for a renewable hydrogen project at Badgingarra.

APA already owns a 130-megawatt wind farm at Badgingarra, with an adjoining solar farm and two nearby wind projects together with capacity of nearly 120MW.

That could deliver hydrogen through a pipeline into Perth.


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