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bp Australia released the results of its feasibility assessment for a large-scale green hydrogen and ammonia generation facilities in Western Australia.

The study concluded that producing green hydrogen and green ammonia on a large scale in Australia is technically viable. Its findings also bolster bp’s conviction that Western Australia, with its vast potential solar and wind resources, existing infrastructure, and proximity to large, long-term markets, is an ideal location for developing large-scale renewable energy assets capable of producing green hydrogen and/or green ammonia for domestic and export markets.

Green hydrogen is generated by electrolyzing water with renewable energy. It can be used as a fuel and energy source in industries that are notoriously difficult to decarbonize. Green ammonia is created when green hydrogen and nitrogen are combined (from the air). Ammonia can be used as a hydrogen transporter, which has several advantages over pure hydrogen. ‎

The feasibility research supplied bp with critical insights into the potential for green hydrogen and green ammonia generation, which it will share publicly as part of a knowledge sharing agreement with ARENA to further the development and usage of green hydrogen energy.

bp will continue to collaborate with key partners to build plans for integrated green hydrogen projects in Western Australia, defining the technical and infrastructure solutions, customer demand, and business models necessary for success.

Frédéric Baudry, president, bp Australia, and SVP fuels & low carbon solutions, Asia Pacific, said: “bp ‎is putting its strategy in action by accelerating its position in low carbon technologies and providing ‎end-to-end integrated energy solutions for our customers, including hydrogen.

“This study confirms the potential for scaled-up green hydrogen in Western Australia. This looks ‎particularly promising in the mid-west of WA, which has existing infrastructure, access to land and ‎abundant renewable energy resources such as wind and solar. Importantly, our study also ‎confirmed strong demand from potential customers in the hard-to-abate sectors, and for both local ‎and export markets. This has the potential to position Australia as a regional powerhouse of the ‎energy transition.‎

“bp strongly supports the Australian government‎’s focus on technology and the Technology ‎Investment Roadmap, which identified hydrogen as priority low-emission technology essential for ‎the decarbonization of industrial processes. I am confident this study will make a valuable ‎contribution to the government’s strategy to accelerate emerging technologies, and I thank the ‎government for its support.‎”‎

The feasibility study, which was first announced in May 2020, was supported by GHD Advisory, Lightsource bp, and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA). It addressed both the financial and technological consequences of establishing a fully integrated renewable hydrogen and ammonia supply chain.

The hydrogen supply chain and domestic and export markets were evaluated at two scales: demonstration/pilot scale (4,000 tonnes of hydrogen producing up to 20,000 tonnes of ammonia) and commercial scale (200,000 tonnes of hydrogen producing up to 1 million tonnes of ammonia). It investigated three distinct hydrogen generation technologies and modeled the plant’s energy supply as a combination of solar and wind energy with some battery assistance. Lightsource bp finished the modeling of renewable energy sources. ‎

According to the report, significant additional infrastructure investment – mainly in port, electricity, and water services – would be necessary, depending on the location and scale.

The study discovered that delivery of gaseous or liquid hydrogen or ammonia may be customized to meet customer requirements through pipeline, truck, rail, or ship.

Economic returns were also examined, and it was determined that in order to fully comprehend this, the renewable hydrogen and ammonia markets must be advanced. The study concluded that large scale will be necessary for economic viability of hydrogen fuel use in general.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said: ‎“bp‎’s analysis of the economic opportunity presented by renewable ‎hydrogen will help Australia determine how it can be scaled-up to satisfy future demand. The report ‎represents a vital building block in our pathway to creating a fully integrated renewable hydrogen ‎supply chain, allowing Australia to become leaders in a future export industry.”

Jason Fonti, GHD Advisory’s origination and value chain leader, added: “The magic figure is ‎producing hydrogen below $2 per kilo and the pathway to get there is becoming clearer. The study ‎has highlighted that, through innovation, talent, commitment and collaboration, Western Australia ‎can become one of the major exporters of hydrogen in the global market.”

Nedim Husomanovic

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