Bell Bay Powerfuels, a partnership between Abel Energy and Iberdrola Australia, has announced plans to redevelop the decommissioned Bell Bay Power Station in northern Tasmania into a large-scale, renewables-based hydrogen and green methanol facility.
The project aims to target the growing demand for green methanol in Australia and the emerging market in the shipping industry. The site’s existing deep-water berth will be utilized for the export of green methanol.
The initial stage of the project will involve the construction of a 140 MW electrolyser, which will generate green hydrogen to be converted into green methanol by adding carbon from forestry wood waste. The project will have a capacity to produce an estimated 200,000 tonnes of green methanol annually for both domestic and international customers. Future expansion plans include a 240 MW electrolyser unit capable of delivering up to 300,000 tonnes of green methanol per year.
Bell Bay Powerfuels intends to leverage up to 700 MW of new renewable energy generation within the state to support the project. The company aims to retain and repurpose existing infrastructure at the power station and utilize the deep-water berth for transportation purposes. Front-end engineering and design (FEED) are expected to begin in the coming months, with commercial operation scheduled to start in 2027.
Michael van Baarle, the CEO of Abel Energy, expressed excitement about the project, stating that it marks the beginning of a unique era for Tasmanian renewable energy. He sees the project positioning Tasmania as a global leader in green methanol production, which is considered the future fuel for the shipping industry.
Iberdrola, with its extensive experience and presence in Australia’s renewable energy market, is expected to develop the renewable energy assets that will power the electrolyser. Hydro Tasmania is likely to provide firming capacity, and a new wind farm is the probable source of renewable power for the project.
Ross Rolfe, Chairman and CEO of Iberdrola Australia, emphasized the company’s commitment to delivering decarbonization solutions for commercial and industrial customers in hard-to-abate sectors. In addition to the partnership with Bell Bay Powerfuels, Iberdrola will provide technical and commercial support to leverage its local market expertise and global capabilities in this emerging technology.