South Australia on the front foot with $240 million green hydrogen export project


South Australia’s (SA) Marshall Government is on the front-foot as it looks to become Australia’s national export hub for green hydrogen with the announcement on Thursday of $37 million in state funding for the upgrade of export infrastructure for the $240 million Eyre Peninsula Gateway Hydrogen Project (the project), featuring a 75 MW electrolysis plant. 

The $37 million will be put to particular use in the upgrade of the Port Bonython jetty and was announced on Thursday by SA Premier Steven Marshall as key to the state’s “ambitious plans to become an exporter of green energy to world markets.” 

The project is being developed by Australian company Hydrogen Utility (H2U) and is the first in what the company plans to be several green hydrogen and green ammonia projects. Green ammonia is a derivative of green hydrogen. 

The announcement comes less than a week since the SA Government launched its Hydrogen Export Prospectusin which it identified a number of green hydrogen hubs (including Port Bonython), each of which would at least double the current installed capacity of solar and wind farms in SA. 

Port Bonython jetty and Santos refinery (2011).

Image: Dan Monceaux / Wikipedia Commons

The H2U project will be developed over two stages. 

Demonstrator Stage 

The first stage of the project integrates the 75 MW electrolysis plant with a 120 tonnes per day ammonia production facility. The combination of the two will produce an estimated 40,000 tonnes of green ammonia per year for the domestic market and provide trial export shipments of green hydrogen and green ammonia to Japan and “other North Asian economies.” 

The SA Government’s Renewable Technology Fund has already provided the Demonstrator Stage with a $4.7 million grant and a 47.5 million loan. 

The project is well on the move now with its Front-end Engineering and Design (FEED) Study set to start in December 2020. 

Export Stage

The expansion of the project through an industrial-scale facility to a production capacity of 2,400 tonnes of green ammonia per day will hopefully enable significant ability to export. 

Green Hydrogen Future 

H2U executive director Tristram Travers told the Australian Financial Review that the project “will be the first, export-oriented green hydrogen and ammonia manufacturing facility utilising 100% renewable energy and a significant step towards meeting the needs of these emerging markets.” 

The Climate Council has welcomed the announcement of the $240 million green hydrogen project, saying that South Australia is indisputably the global leader. “This is fantastic news,” said Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie, “South Australia’s plan to produce and export renewable hydrogen will have many benefits. It will create jobs for Australians, build a future export industry and tackle climate change, all at the same time.”

McKenzie did not miss the opportunity to point out the stark differences in leadership between South Australia and the Federal Government. “Our Federal Government has failed to deliver a credible climate and energy policy,” continued McKenzie, “With the right policies, investments and Australia’s huge national advantage from our sun and wind, we can be a leader in this major new global industry.” 

Substantiating the necessity of credible climate and energy policy, according to AFR SA Energy Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan said South Australia’s 2030 net-100 percent renewable energy target meant it could produce some of the lowest cost green hydrogen in the world for use domestically and internationally. 

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