1 GW North Queensland hydrogen project gains a new international partner

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Acting through its subsidiary IHI Engineering Australia, the company will join Idemitsu Australia, Queensland energy company CS Energy and local developer Energy Estate to develop the renewable energy, green hydrogen and ammonia production and export facility in North Queensland.

Just 10 months ago, in December 2022, Energy Estate gained partners Idemitsu and DS Energy to help take the HyNQ project to its next stage of funding a pre-front-end engineering design (pre-FEED) study on the feasibility of producing and exporting green ammonia from the Port of Abbot Point near Bowen. Now, HyNQ says it has completed pre-FEED activities on schedule during Q3 2023 and will move forward to the FEED study in Q1 2024, with a final investment decision in 2025.

The hydrogen hub will be powered by solar and wind generation and expects to support over 1 GW hydrogen electrolyser capacity. The company is targeting North Queensland as the offtake market for its liquid green hydrogen, and plans to produce green ammonia for export markets. While solar, wind and green hydrogen do not produce direct greenhouse gas emissions, green ammonia is not without its environmental issues, primarily due to the massive of ammonia for fertilisers in the agricultural industry.

The exported green ammonia from HyNQ is intended to power industry activities, and the newest member of the consortium specialises in this field, both within Japan and internationally. Kensuke Yamamoto, Associated Director of IHI Corporation, said: “IHI Corporation is a global technology leader in the use of green ammonia to decarbonise industry – in Japan and other markets around the world. We see HyNQ as an opportunity to secure long-term supplies of green ammonia for the Japanese market and build upon the foundations of the strong and enduring partnership between Queensland and Japan.”

The project is being supported by the Queensland government as part of its recently announced Collinsville Renewable Energy Zone. The government is also supporting the accelerated development of Abbot Point as a green export hub, which boasts the advantage of an existing deep-water port. The Queensland Government is investing $8.5 million (USD 5.47m) in the Abbot Point Activation Initiative under the Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan hydrogen hubs program to advance the master planning, development and infrastructure agreements required and the planning required for water and power supplies to produce hydrogen at scale.

The HyNQ consortium says it is “committed to the development of common user infrastructure at Abbot Point and ensuring that large-scale exports of green ammonia and decarbonisation of domestic industry plays a key role in unlocking the world-class renewable energy and critical mineral opportunities in North Queensland.”

This is not the first Australian hydrogen project joined by IHI Corporation.  The Japanese corporation’s portfolio includes working with Woodside Energy on green ammonia projects in Tasmania and New Zealand. For its part, beyond the early and further development of this North Queensland project, Energy Estate also has the Hunter Hydrogen Network (H2N) in New South Wales and Hydrogen City, Texas, USA.

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