Real Energy signs JV to develop large-scale hydrogen hubs


Real Energy and Liberty Hydrogen have agreed to establish a joint venture company, Pure Hydrogen International, to develop a network of hydrogen manufacturing and distribution hubs – two in Queensland, and one each in New South Wales and Victoria.

Real Energy’s wholly owned offshoot Pure Hydrogen will hold a 60% stake in the Pure Hydrogen International JV in return for contributing the two Queensland projects, one at Gladstone and another at Mackay. Liberty will contribute project sites at Newcastle, NSW, and in southeast Victoria.

Real Energy managing director Scott Brown said the JV would deliver immediate scale, providing Pure Hydrogen with effective coverage of Australia’s east coast.

“We have focused on four sites that are in close proximity to ports on the east coast of Australia,” he said.

“Initially we aim to have small pilot plants at these locations to sell hydrogen fuel to local customers but as the market expands we have room to significantly expand production to include exports.”

The JV aims to develop four hydrogen hubs, two in Queensland and one each in NSW and Victoria.

Image: Real Energy

Brown said the JV forms part of Real Energy’s plans to “rapidly assemble” in 2021 all parts of the value chain to build and develop a large-scale hydrogen business, including signing JVs with hydrogen manufacturing and distribution specialists to build pilot plants at the hubs and locking in agreements with potential end-users.

“Pure Hydrogen has made excellent progress in a short period of time and we are only just getting started,” Brown said.

“We look forward to delivering a steady stream of project development news early in 2021 as our four hydrogen hubs progress.”

Picking up the pace

The JV agreement follows Real Energy’s announcement earlier this month of a memorandum of understanding with US-based Hyzon Motors. That collaboration will include the development of a network of hydrogen refuelling stations across Australia and the provision of Hyzon’s hydrogen-powered commercial vehicles.

Real Energy’s focus is timely given the international demand for hydrogen and fuel-cell technology is accelerating.

The latest forecasts from Deloitte show the global market for hydrogen is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.8% to USD $180.2 billion by 2025 with approximately 45% of production to come from the Asia Pacific.

Modelling by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has forecast Australian hydrogen exports are expected to contribute $1.7 billion in Australia’s economy by 2030.

Brown said hydrogen has the potential to be a complete “game-changer” for Australia’s energy roadmap.

“The potential for scale when it comes to Australian hydrogen is immense, particularly given the burgeoning rise of forecast hydrogen markets in the Asia Pacific and mounting interest in the North American region,” Brown said.

“Pure Hydrogen is well placed to capitalise on this by continuing to fast-track Australia’s hydrogen and fuel-cell technology infrastructure.

“As more and more countries around the world transition to low-carbon energy sources, Real has a fantastic opportunity to be a leader in sustainable hydrogen technology production and exports and the four new hydrogen hubs can help pave the way forward for Australia’s hydrogen future.”

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