New liquefaction facilities for the Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC) in Victoria have begun construction.
The project at Port Hastings is part of a plan to convert brown coal from the LaTrobe Valley into hydrogen before it is exported in liquid form to Japan.
As a cleaner alternative to fossil fuels, hydrogen has been touted as a potential $2 billion industry for the state of Victoria whose Government has committed $50 million to the project which the Federal Government has matched with support from Japanese industry.
“This project promises to be of huge benefit to both nations and particularly the state of Victoria, which has the opportunity to develop an alternative and value-adding use of its abundant brown coal reserves in the Latrobe Valley," said Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan.
“The use of hydrogen is part of Japan’s vision of a clean energy future and any emissions from the pilot project will be fully offset, with commercial scale operations required to use carbon capture and storage to ensure a low emission source of hydrogen,” he said.
According Simon Birmingham Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, said the project was the first of its kind in Australia and was built on the long-standing trade partnership between Australia and Japan.
“This pilot project is the first step in creating a commercial scale hydrogen supply chain which could lead to billions of dollars in export earnings for Australia and help Japan meet its strategic energy targets for 2030 and beyond,” he said.
“As global demand for hydrogen continues to grow, strategic investments such as this one have the potential to turn Australia into a major global exporter of hydrogen, particularly to countries such as Japan and South Korea," said Birmingham.
“Australia has long been a reliable supplier of energy needs and there is no doubt that we are uniquely placed to continue to meet those global needs by becoming a leader in hydrogen energy."
Commercial scale operations in the Latrobe Valley and around the country are expected to help transform Australia into a hydrogen powerhouse, with significant economic benefits that will create thousands of extra jobs locally.
Kawasaki Heavy Industries lead a consortium of Japanese energy and infrastructure companies working on delivery of the project.
(Image: Simon Birmingham, Minister Trade, Tourism and Investment).