Japanese oil giant opens green hydrogen pilot plant in Brisbane

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The Queensland government has celebrated the opening of the Bulwer Island green hydrogen demonstration plant, a project forwarded by Japan’s biggest oil refiner, Eneos.

“The Bulwer Island facility will have capacity to produce up to 20 kilograms of green hydrogen a day, creating 30 new specialist jobs in the process,” the Queensland government said. It noted the company is “investigating other sites in Queensland for future stages of its development.”

Eneos will produce the green hydrogen at the facility using its patented electrolysis technology, Direct MCH, powered by an onsite 250 kW solar system.

The hydrogen will be produced in the form of methylcyclohexane, which fixes hydrogen with toluene and remains in a liquid form at normal temperature and pressure for storage and transportation. The grand plan is for the methylcyclohexane to be converted back to hydrogen in Japan. 

The demonstration plant is the first project supported by the Japanese government’s $24 billion (USD 17 billion) Green Innovation Fund, dedicated to helping the nation reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

Eneos Senior Vice President Yuichiro Fujiyama described the demonstration of its technology in Queensland as a “great step,” noting the project will expand its scale “in near future.”

The demonstration plant appears to build on a feasibility study Eneos began in 2021 with Origin Energy.

The company is also progressing with plans announced that same year to develop a 204 MW solar farm at Edenvale in the Western Downs region of Queensland.

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