Series of ‘flagship’ projects deploying promising new hydrogen technology backed by Japanese heavyweight


Providence Asset Group, headquartered in Sydney, announced on Tuesday that it had secured the backing of major Japanese conglomerate, Marubeni Corporation. Marubeni’s subsidiary SmartestEnergy Australia has signed a Power Purchasing Agreement (PPA) as an offtaker for what will eventually be a portfolio of 30 renewable assets integrating solar, storage and hydrogen production scattered around eastern Australia and owned by Providence Asset Group.

Those assets, the majority of which have not yet been built, will include a mid-scale solar farms (around 10 MW each) which will incorporate dual technology, providing an integration between Li-ion batteries and green hydrogen energy production and storage units.

To this end, Providence Asset Group will deploy LAVO’s green hydrogen energy storage and production units, which were developed by the University of New South Wales. LAVO’s ‘green hydrogen batteries’ containerise metal hydride to store the hydrogen’s energy and only entered the market in June of this year – the first of their kind in Australia and across the world.

How the LAVO hydrogen energy storage system works.

Image: LAVO

LAVO Chief Executive and Executive Director Alan Yu said he was “thrilled” about the deal. “It’s another vote of confidence in Australia’s renewable energy industry and provides an ideal base to demonstrate the technical and commercial benefits that commercial scale solar farms coupled with the LAVO | HEOS system can deliver. This will serve as a flagship project, highlighting the importance of grid-connected fuel cells and projects of this type.”

Providence Asset Group has only built five of the 30 solar farms so far in regional Victoria’s Katamatite, Numurkah, Echuca West, Echuca and Stanhope. Another six are currently in construction. Presumably the newly-signed PPA will leverage the Australian company to finish the remaining 19.

Under the terms of the agreement, SmartestEnergy will purchase the renewable generation output of the solar farms for an initial 30-month period, with both parties planning for a 10-year extension at the end of the initial period. When all the solar farms are operating, the combined generation output will be around 500 GWh per annum.

Providence Asset Group will also commence work on developing a green hydrogen export roadmap to Japan, which will again use LAVO’s technology.

Providence Asset Group’s Llewellyn Owens, NSW Energy Minister Matt Kean, UNSW’s Professor Kondo-Francois Aguey-Zinsou.

Image: UNSW

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