Consortium to create a global supply chain for hydrogen

GHD Pty Ltd

Friday, 13 April, 2018

Consortium to create a global supply chain for hydrogen

A consortium of energy and infrastructure companies has partnered with the Japanese, Australian and Victorian Governments to demonstrate an innovative supply chain for the delivery of liquefied hydrogen to Japan.

The plan follows a report from the International Energy Agency identifying hydrogen as the clean energy supply and commodity of the future, and a credible solution to the world’s energy and climate change problems. Japan has so far led the world in the move to a hydrogen economy and has now identified Australia as the ideal partner for hydrogen imports to meet its future energy needs.

Now, the pilot phase of the Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC) project is ready to move from concept to reality. The project will demonstrate the viability of producing hydrogen in Victoria, for export to Japan. The first shipment of hydrogen is scheduled for 2020–2021.

If the pilot phase is successful, the HESC project will enter its commercial phase in the 2030s. This multibillion-dollar investment will establish an integrated supply chain for environmentally sustainable hydrogen, produced from Victorian brown coal, in the Latrobe Valley.

Leveraging Victoria’s carbon capture and storage (CCS) infrastructure will be paramount for the commercial phase, according to the project partners, who state that a CCS solution is critical to the HESC project, to ensure the supply of low-emissions hydrogen. Additionally, the partners are confident that the economics of hydrogen in Japan will make the commercial phase both viable and necessary to satisfy the country’s growing hydrogen demand, mostly for mobility and power generation.

The project brings together Japanese electricity generator and distributor J-POWER; Japanese hydrogen provider Iwatani Corporation; and Marubeni Corporation, a global trading and investing business conglomerate. In Australia, the consortium is led by Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI), a Japanese manufacturer of transportation systems, industrial plants and energy solutions. Australian energy provider AGL is also a key partner to deliver the project in the Latrobe Valley.

“The global hydrogen market is booming and we are thrilled that both the Victorian and Commonwealth Governments wish to participate actively in this project, which has the potential to deliver a critical option for future global energy needs,” said Dr Eiichi Harada from KHI.

“We are also eager to maximise the synergy between the HESC project and the Victorian Government’s strategy for future uses of brown coal. Community engagement will be ongoing to provide local communities with further information on the project.”

Construction of the pilot facility is expected to commence in early 2019, following planning approvals.

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