Plans for giant green hydrogen project in WA revealed


The Murchison Hydrogen Renewables project being developed near the Western Australian coastal town of Kalbarri will use 5.2GW of wind and solar PV energy to produce renewable hydrogen which will be converted to an estimated 2 million tonnes of green ammonia per annum for domestic and export uses.

The ambitious project, set to be constructed on Murchison House Station about 20 kilometres north of Kalbarri on the state’s Mid-West coast, was first proposed by Hydrogen Renewables Australia in 2019. The project is now being led by Danish investment firm Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners through its offshoot Murchison Hydrogen Renewables (MHR).

While no specific details about the ambitious project were previously available, a referral filed this week with the state’s Environment Protection Authority (EPA) reveals the true scale of the project.

The submission shows MHR intends to install about 1.5GW of solar PV and an estimated 700 onshore wind turbines with a combined capacity of about 3.7GW.

A Power-to-X (PtX) plant will be constructed on-site to convert the renewable energy into green hydrogen which will be converted into an estimated two million tonnes of green ammonia annually.

The facility will be equipped with about 3GW of electrolysers while a purpose-built water treatment and desalination plant will generate about six giga-litres of “demineralised water” a year for use in the production process.

The project is to be developed at Murchison House Station near Kalbarri.

Image: MHR

The PtX plant will be coupled with 250MW-350MW of battery storage with a two-hour duration that will be used to regulate the renewable energy prior to distribution to the electrolysers.

The proposal also includes hydrogen storage which will be used as an intermediary between electricity and ammonia. It is anticipated up to 200 hydrogen storage vessels, each with a capacity of up to 680 tonnes will be installed.

The green ammonia produced at the site is to be exported to emerging green energy markets with a pipeline to link the PtX plant and storage facility to a marine export facility. The submission also highlights the potential for local, domestic offtake as hydrogen or ammonia.

Hydrogen Renewables Australia has already secured a long-term agreement with the pastoral lessees of the Murchison House Station and announced Siemens as the proposed plant’s technology partner.

The project is expected to be developed in three stages. The first stage would comprise a demonstration phase producing hydrogen for transport fuels, to be followed by an expansion to blend with natural gas into the nearby Dampier to Bunbury pipeline.

The third and final phase would include an expansion to produce hydrogen for export to Asian markets.

Hydrogen Renewables Australia has previously indicated the potential for the proposed project to scale-up over a six-year period, reaching full capacity toward the end of this decade.

The referral to the EPA is currently open to public comment until May 8.

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