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ARENA boosts hydrogen ties with Japan

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ARENA has announced up to $2.17 million in financing for Stanwell Corporation Limited (Stanwell) to execute a feasibility study for a proposed hydrogen export project in Gladstone, Queensland, on behalf of the Australian Government.

The high capital expenditures of equipment are a major barrier to creating cost-competitive green hydrogen by electrolysis. Because of economies of scale, large-scale export initiatives have the potential to improve cost competitiveness.

The study, conducted in collaboration with Iwatani Corporation, Japan’s largest hydrogen provider, will look at the possibility of building a hydrogen production facility capable of producing up to 36,500 tonnes of renewable hydrogen per year and exporting it to Japan starting in 2026. To meet predicted Japanese demand, Stanwell and Iwatani aim to ramp up to 328,500 tonnes per annum in 2031. Stanwell proposes using liquid hydrogen cargo vessels to transport hydrogen in liquid form.

The $10.4 million study is backed by a group of Japanese and domestic investors, including Kansai Electric Power Corporation, Marubeni Corporation, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, and APA Group, as well as money from Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry.

Due to its existing knowledge and infrastructure in energy export supply chains, proximity to key emerging hydrogen import markets in Asia with established trade links, and plenty of renewable energy resources, Australia has a competitive advantage in the emerging hydrogen export market.

The Australian Government has been advancing international collaborations, undertaking national coordination, and supporting priority industry projects to grow a clean, innovative, safe, and competitive hydrogen industry since the release of Australia’s National Hydrogen Strategy by the Council of Australian Governments’ (COAG) Energy Council in November 2019.

The governments of Australia and Japan signed a Joint Statement of Cooperation on Hydrogen and Fuel Cells in January 2020. The countries also announced the Japan-Australia Partnership on Decarbonisation via Technology in June of this year, recognizing their shared goal of accelerating the development and commercialization of low- and zero-emission technologies, such as clean hydrogen. The research is an example of the ongoing collaboration and exploration of new hydrogen trade potential.

According to ARENA CEO Darren Miller, the project will look into the possibility of Australia becoming a big exporter of renewable hydrogen.

“Stanwell’s analysis presents a huge opportunity to accelerate the development of renewable hydrogen export options in Australia, as well as to collaborate with a very reputable Japanese consortium capable of delivering a large-scale export project.

“With our extensive solar and wind resources, as well as our demonstrated capacity to export energy products, Australia is ideally positioned to develop a large-scale competitive hydrogen export business in the future. Feasibility studies like this are a vital and crucial stage in building the case for large-scale projects that require a lot of money.”

Through the Renewable Hydrogen Deployment Funding Round, ARENA recently granted $103 million in funding to support three 10 MW electrolyser plants. Since 2018, ARENA has financed $60 million in 31 projects to support pre-commercial activities, including several feasibility studies concentrating on smaller scale deployments with domestic end-use cases.

Stanwell was previously awarded $913,667 by ARENA to explore the viability of deploying a 10 MW electrolyser to supply residential hydrogen at the Stanwell Power Station near Rockhampton, Queensland.

Arnes Biogradlija
Creative Content Director at EnergyNews.Biz

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