Queensland, partnering with Japanese firm, considers building solar-driven green hydrogen facility beside coal power plant

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Announced today, the collaborative study will look at the workability of the Kogan Hydrogen Demonstration Plant concept, which includes the co-location of a solar farm, battery, hydrogen electrolyser and a hydrogen fuel cell.

CS Energy’s CEO Andrew Bills said the demonstration project will focus on the hydrogen electrolyser being powered exclusively by behind-the-meter solar energy, making it one of the few truly ‘green hydrogen’ projects in Australia.

“CS Energy is pursuing this project to ensure we have the technical capability to enter the hydrogen market once it becomes more commercially viable,” Bills said in a statement.

Determined not to be left behind in what can only be described as a flurry of hydrogen news in the first month of 2021, Queensland’s government will inject $25 million to develop the state’s hydrogen industry.

“Queensland has a unique competitive advantage in the production of renewable hydrogen, with our proximity to Asia, established infrastructure, manufacturing capabilities and renewable energy generation,” Minister for Renewables and Hydrogen Mick de Brenni said in a statement. “Our key strategic advantage in Queensland is our State-owned energy generators and ports.”

The minister also noted that it was the second hydrogen collaboration between Queensland and Japanese energy companies in the space of three months, following Stanwell Corporation’s partnership with Iwatani Corporation in November 2020. Likewise, last week saw Japanese giant Sumitomo Corporation announce a partnership to pursue a solar-powered green hydrogen production plant in Gladstone

And it’s not just Queensland that is keen to corner the hydrogen market. Just yesterday, National Energy Resources Australia announced an initial investment of $1.75 million in 13 regional clusters designed to establish Australia’s global identity in hydrogen technology and expertise. Meanwhile, the Smart Energy Council is working overtime to develop a Zero Carbon Certification Scheme to guarantee the “green-ness” of the hydrogen Australia is eager to produce.

The Kogan Hydrogen Demonstration Plant, if found to be feasible, would produce the green hydrogen which is anticipated to soon be in high demand while also capitalising on the “strategic advantages” outlined by the minister, tapping into the state-owned Kogan Creek Power Station. CS Energy’s Andrew Bills also says the project would “prove up the virtual power plant, production of green hydrogen and use of a battery to facilitate renewables.” It would also diversify CS Energy’s revenue streams.

“The plant may also be able to provide other services like Frequency Control Ancillary Services [FCAS], which are important for grid stability, and which will be scoped as part of the joint feasibility study,” Bills added.

Big batteries, with all their FCAS wonders, and even Australia-made hydrogen batteries have also been making the news this month. After years of anticlimactic prophecies, perhaps 2021 will indeed prove the year of (green) hydrogen.

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