Newcastle is poised to become a prominent hydrogen hub as the Australian federal government commits $70 million to the development of a 55-megawatt hydrogen electrolyzer. The project aims to split water into hydrogen and oxygen, contributing to the region’s renewable energy transformation.
Climate Change and Energy Minister Chris Bowen, during his visit to the site, emphasized the Hunter region’s historical role in powering Australia and highlighted the transition to renewable power for generations to come.
The hydrogen hub in the Hunter Valley is projected to produce 5,500 tonnes of hydrogen annually, leading to the creation of approximately 100 jobs. Origin Energy, in collaboration with explosive manufacturing company Orica, will spearhead the development of the hydrogen hub.
Orica’s chief executive, Sanjeev Gandhi, outlined their plans to utilize most of the hydrogen at their ammonia and ammonium nitrate facility on Kooragang Island to achieve emission-free production. With this site being one of the largest gas consumers in New South Wales, Orica intends to replace a portion of the gas demand with green hydrogen while supplying the remaining hydrogen to Origin Energy partners for use in the transport sector.
Renewable hydrogen plays a vital role in Australia’s transition to renewable energy, and Minister Bowen emphasized its significance. The Newcastle and Hunter Region, with their strong industrial and economic background, are ideal locations for establishing a renewable hydrogen hub. The project not only aims to reduce industrial emissions through locally produced renewable hydrogen but also seeks to pave the way for exporting renewable hydrogen, contributing to Australia’s future as a renewable energy exporter.
The hydrogen hub project aligns with the government’s recent announcement designating the Hunter coast as the country’s next offshore wind zone. These initiatives reinforce the region’s commitment to renewable energy and are expected to drive job creation and facilitate the transition to clean power sources.
Construction of the hydrogen hub is scheduled to commence in 2025, with operations anticipated to begin in 2026.