Green light for the $300 million green Bundaberg Hydrogen Hub


The first of three large green hydrogen plants to be developed through the partnership of Elvin Group Renewables and Denzo Pty Ltd, the trustee of The Mathews Family Trust, has been given the green light. The $300 million Bundaberg Hydrogen Hub (BHH) will produce hydrogen directly from a solar farm in Bundaberg. 

However, the project is not limited to the dynamic duo of Elvin and Denzo, the alliance is rounded out by H2X, a developer of hydrogen fuelled vehicles ranging from tractors and other such heavy equipment to plush utes. These three form the group known as Green Hydrogen Australia Group (GHAG). Development on the BHH will now start with the construction of an 80 MW hydrogen electrolyser to provide the clean energy H2X vehicles. 

H2X’s ambition is to start a sustainable transport revolution, and this revolution’s humble beginnings are to be Bundaberg and Port Kembla. H2X is developing a range of prototype vehicles in Australia for industry, commercial and private use. 

In June, Sam Blackadder (no relation to Edmund), managing director of Elvin Group, told pv magazine that “you need to provide solutions for the people.” If H2X were to sell a fleet of vehicles either in Australia or overseas, “at least that customer will know that H2X can also facilitate their choice of an electrolyser; it’s about helping the customer make a change and remove themselves from fossil fuel dependency, about them having security in the supply of hydrogen.”

Blackadder is chair at newly formed H2X, and H2X is an investor in Hydrostar Australia.

The 80 MW hydrogen electrolyser, continued Blackadder, would be made possible through the company’s partnership with US company Plug Power, a specialist in hydrogen fuel cell turnkey solutions, and that “The project will be split into two stages each stage being 40 MW.” 

According to Blackadder the assisting solar farm is currently being estimated at 100 MW, with GHAG currently “working with Trina on new potential technology for next year that could maximise the solar output for the benefit of the Bundaberg Hydrogen Hub, hoping to reach up to 110 MW.” As yet the final selection of modules and technology has not been made.

The other two planned hydrogen plants GHAG has in the pipeline are set for Port Kembla in Wollongong, and another for one of NSW’s Renewable Energy Zones (REZs). 

“Both Bundaberg port and Kembla port projects are advancing well for port depots producing hydrogen and we seek a third port possibly in NSW,” said Ken Matthews of Denzo Pty Ltd. “The alliance of the Denzo-Mathews Group with H2X Automotive and the Elvin Renewables Group coming together as GHAG forms a formidable team to advance the use of Hydrogen in Australia and internationally.”

Blackadder told pv magazine that Australia missed the bus on solar manufacture to China by not capitalising on the early stages of PV. “Out government let it slip to China,” he said, “and that was a huge unfortunate moment for our manufacturing industry.” Starting with the Bundaberg Hydrogen Hub, Blackadder and GHAG are determined to make sure Australia is not just catching the bus for the green hydrogen economy, but that Australia is driving the bus. 

Blackadder says there has been “a heavy push”, significant offers made, to locate Elvin Group’s electrolyser manufacturing offshore. “However, we believe,” he says, “that Australia has the ability to be at the cutting edge and delivery of the hydrogen economy, both domestically and internationally.”

Dr Fiona Simon, CEO of the Australian Hydrogen Council, wholeheartedly agrees with Blackadder, saying that the Bundaberg Hydrogen Hub project “is yet another example of Australian innovation and ambition to lead the global hydrogen industry…Australia is uniquely placed to tap into this potential with our world class supply of wind and sunshine, and our well established supply chains.”

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