Image: Port of Townsville

North Queenslanders might be exporting 120,000 tonnes of renewable hydrogen to South Korea within the next decade, after the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Port of Townsville and Ark Energy.

Energy, Renewables, and Hydrogen Minister Mick de Brenni stated that a feasibility study will be conducted to determine the viability of developing a renewable hydrogen facility geared toward the transport industry at Sun Metals’ zinc refinery in Townsville, as well as hydrogen export capabilities at the Port of Townsville.

“The Palaszczuk Government’s economic recovery plan is all about creating more jobs and more industries,” Mr de Brenni said.

“That’s exactly what we’ll see in North Queensland as a major hub in Queensland’s hydrogen supply chain.

“We’ve backed Sun Metals with a $5 million Hydrogen Industry Development Fund grant to kickstart hydrogen production in the North.

“Now, through partnerships like this one, Queensland hydrogen will help decarbonise the world and create decent, secure jobs for regional Queenslanders.

“Our key strategic advantage in Queensland is our State-owned ports.”

“Sun Metals is one of Townsville’s most innovative businesses and it’s exciting to have their sister company, Ark Energy, plan to export renewable hydrogen to South Korea from Queensland’s publicly-owned port,” Mr Stewart said.

Les Walker, the government’s hydrogen champion and Mundingburra member, said this was a significant step in developing a thriving industry in Townsville.

“There are potentially thousands of jobs in the hydrogen industry and Townsville is perfectly placed to take advantage of this,” Mr Walker said.

“Already we’ve seen Ark Energy’s SunHQ hydrogen hub receive a grant through the Palaszczuk Government’s Hydrogen Industry Development Fund last year to produce renewable hydrogen in Townsville.

“In April, the Port of Townsville signed a MOU with Origin Energy to facilitate hydrogen exports to Japan and today’s agreement with Ark Energy is another exciting step to developing a local hydrogen supply chain and the jobs that will flow from it

Lance McCallum, Queensland’s Assistant Minister for Hydrogen Development and the 50 percent renewable energy target by 2030, said there were significant prospects to establish a new hydrogen sector in the state.

“Today’s MOU between the publicly owned Port of Townsville and Ark Energy will help secure new and emerging jobs in Townsville,” Mr McCallum said.

“The Palaszczuk Government has been a leader in backing hydrogen for the future which is why we launched the $2 billion Queensland Renewable Energy and Hydrogen Jobs Fund as well as the Hydrogen Industry Development Strategy.”

Ark Energy CEO Daniel Kim stated that the initial goal is to grow North Queensland’s domestic hydrogen economy by assisting fleet owners in transitioning from diesel to zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell commercial vehicles that can be refueled at SunHQ.

“Ultimately our goal is to export green hydrogen to customers in Asia starting with our parent company in South Korea whose hydrogen demand could be as high as 200,000 tonnes per annum.

“We believe that Townsville has the potential to become a major global hub for hydrogen exports. The MOU with the Port of Townsville is an important step in our journey to investigate this exciting export opportunity, which has the potential to transform the regional economy of North Queensland.”

Townsville Port Townsville, with its deep-water port and proximity to Asia, has a strategic advantage to become a global hub for generating and exporting hydrogen – the energy of the future, according to Chief Executive Officer Ranee Crosby.

“This is another exciting renewable energy project for the Port as green hydrogen becomes one of the most sought-after energy products on the world market,” she said.

“We believe Townsville is well placed to be at the forefront of this energy revolution, which will also boost our economic development, create new jobs and substantially reduce our carbon emissions.

“We recently released our Port Vision 2050 – our roadmap for the next 30 years – which has a strong emphasis on action for climate change.

“Facilitating the production, usage and export of green hydrogen is one of the Port’s strategic goals.”

Nedim Husomanovic

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