The Hunter Valley Hydrogen Hub in New South Wales (NSW) has received a substantial $45 million boost from the state government. This investment is poised to redefine the region’s industrial landscape, reduce emissions, and demonstrate the viability of green hydrogen at scale.
The Hunter Valley Hydrogen Hub, located on the picturesque Newcastle coast, is a joint initiative between Origin Energy and Orica, one of the state’s largest industrial gas users. Its primary goal is to produce 5,500 tonnes of green hydrogen annually, serving as a clean energy storage solution and a crucial feedstock for industrial processes.
Government support, both at the state and federal levels, plays a pivotal role in advancing hydrogen projects. Ryan Willemsen-Bell, Origin’s General Manager for Future Fuels, emphasized that such support is “vital” to bridge the commercialization gap for hydrogen technologies and showcase their scalability.
For Orica, green hydrogen is central to its ambitious plan to reduce operational emissions by at least 45% by 2030, based on 2019 levels. The company’s Koorangang Island operations, which produce ammonia and nitric acid, contribute significantly to greenhouse gas emissions. However, Orica has already taken steps to mitigate these emissions, including deploying tertiary catalyst abatement technology, a first in Australia.
Orica’s co-located Tertiary Abatement Plant at Kooragang Island has already achieved substantial emissions reductions, cutting the equivalent of more than 500,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually. This plant, funded in part by the NSW and federal governments, has shown impressive results since its deployment in November 2022.
The next phase in Orica’s emissions reduction strategy involves the adoption of renewable hydrogen as a feedstock, replacing fossil gas. This transition not only aligns with decarbonization goals but also diversifies Orica’s business portfolio, capitalizing on its strategic location at the Port of Newcastle.
The Hunter Valley Hydrogen Hub represents a pivotal moment in the journey towards sustainable industrial practices in NSW. It showcases the potential of green hydrogen to reshape the industrial landscape, reduce emissions, and drive economic growth while maintaining Australia’s commitment to a cleaner, greener future.