Perth-based Hazer Group has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with French energy giant Engie to progress the development of a Hazer facility in Europe.
The companies plan to collaborate on the H2Montoir project at the existing LNG import and regasification terminal in Montoir-de-Bretagne, France, which is owned and operated by Engie’s affiliate company Elengy. The project will have an initial hydrogen production capacity of at least 2,500 tonnes per annum, which will be used in industrial applications and the mobility sector. This collaboration aims to accelerate decarbonization in a cost-effective way by using the Hazer Process, which enables the conversion of natural gas into hydrogen and high-quality advanced carbon materials.
The Hazer Process uses iron ore as a catalyst, and it is expected to provide cost savings for the hydrogen producer as well as significantly lower carbon dioxide emissions. Although much of Hazer Group’s publicly available information focuses on the use of its technology in conjunction with natural gas to create hydrogen, which is generally termed “grey” hydrogen, the company is promoting its hydrogen as “low emission.”
Engie has already conducted a preliminary feasibility study on the Hazer Process and its potential role at its Elengy facility, which determined that hydrogen produced at such a facility would meet the requirements for low carbon hydrogen projects under relevant European Union regulatory frameworks and guidelines.
Hazer Group’s collaboration with Engie is the second such MoU signed in recent months, following the signing of a non-binding MoU in early April with Japanese energy company Chubu Electric Power and global engineering company Chiyoda Corporation. This collaboration aims to build a Hazer production facility in the Chubu region of Japan, which will eventually boast hydrogen production capacity of between 50,000 and 100,000 tonnes per annum, but would start out with an initial production capacity of between 2,500 and 10,000 tonnes per annum.
While this is a promising development, challenges still exist in scaling up low-emission hydrogen production to the level required to meet the world’s energy needs. One significant challenge is the high cost of producing hydrogen using current methods, although advancements in technology and economies of scale are expected to bring these costs down over time. Additionally, the use of natural gas as a feedstock for hydrogen production raises concerns about the sustainability of this method, given the environmental impact of natural gas extraction and transportation.