South Korean steelmaker Posco and French renewable energy giant Engie are joining forces to explore the feasibility of a massive renewable hydrogen project in Western Australia. This project could provide the essential fuel for a green iron venture planned in the Pilbara region.
Posco and Engie have unveiled their plans to conduct a pre-feasibility study for this ambitious renewable hydrogen project, which will encompass utility-scale wind and solar generation. The proposed site is near Port Hedland in Western Australia’s Pilbara region, a location ripe for renewable energy initiatives.
The primary goal of this study is to determine the practicality of employing renewable hydrogen to power Posco’s envisioned hot briquetted iron plant. This plant would supply feedstock for Posco’s steel-making operations in South Korea. While specific details about the project’s capacity remain undisclosed, the Western Australian state government has clarified that the study will align with development strategies for inland renewable energy sites. These will include large-scale wind and solar generation, a hydrogen electrolyser, substantial energy storage, and a pipeline capable of transporting green hydrogen all the way to South Korea to aid in Posco’s decarbonization efforts.
The study is expected to reach completion by early 2024, setting the stage for potential groundbreaking developments in the renewable energy landscape.
This endeavor isn’t Engie’s first venture into the world of green hydrogen in the Pilbara. The company has already commenced construction on the Yuri project, designed to provide feedstock for Yara Pilbara Fertilisers’ existing ammonia operations near Karratha. This project is equipped with a 10 MW electrolyser, 18 MW of solar power, and an 8 MW/5 MWh lithium-ion battery energy storage system for added reliability. The Yuri project is set to be operational by 2024, further solidifying Engie’s commitment to green hydrogen.
The collaboration between Engie and Posco began in 2022 when the two companies signed a memorandum of understanding, pledging to explore opportunities for green hydrogen production and related infrastructure in Australia, the Middle East, and Latin America. This alliance perfectly aligns with Engie’s ambitious goal of generating 80 GW of renewable capacity and 4 GW of electrolyser capacity by 2030. Posco, on the other hand, is striving to build a green hydrogen-based steel business by 2050.
Posco’s Senior Executive Vice President Byeong-Og Yoo emphasized the transformation happening in steel manufacturing as the world embraces carbon neutrality. He declared Posco’s intent to establish a hydrogen production capacity of seven million tonnes by 2050, positioning the company among the world’s top 10 global producers, all in support of the transition to green steel production.
The collaboration between Engie and Posco extends beyond the Pilbara projects. They are already leading a consortium to develop a green hydrogen and green ammonia project in Oman. This project involves approximately 5 GW of new wind and solar capacity, battery energy storage, and a renewable hydrogen plant with a capacity of up to 200 ktpa. The produced hydrogen will be utilized to manufacture about 1.2 million tonnes of green ammonia per year, destined for export to South Korea.
The combined efforts of Posco and Engie represent a significant stride towards a more sustainable and green future. As the world seeks eco-friendly alternatives, this collaboration may well serve as a blueprint for how industry leaders can drive transformative change.