Big milestone for QLD’s $4.7b green hydrogen hub

Brandon How

In another step towards transforming Gladstone into a green hydrogen hub, the Queensland government has declared that a $4.7 billion green hydrogen and ammonia facility has been given Coordinated Project status.

This means the developer will receive support from the Queensland Office of the Coordinator-General to make it easier to undergo various regulatory assessments.

Orica’s chemical manufacturing plant in Yarwun

The announcement was made on Tuesday as mining equipment company Orica signed a memorandum of understanding with Hydrogen Utility (H2U) to purchase green ammonia from the project.

At its peak, H2U’s H2-Hub Gladstone will have 3GW of electrolysis capacity and will produce up to 5,000 tonnes of green ammonia per day. Energy will be supplied entirely from new solar and wind projects in Queensland.

Work on the first phase development is set to begin on 30 June next year, with operational activity expected to begin in 2025. The project’s expansion phase is planned for between 2027 and 2030.

In September 2020, H2U announced that it had purchased a 171-hectare site in the coastal town of Yarwun, located in the Gladstone State Development Area, in Central Queensland.

Under the agreement, H2U would supply green ammonia from its proposed production plant directly to Orica’s chemicals plant, also located in Yarwun. Orica produces substances used in gold extraction and explosives. The two firms are also looking to develop a green ammonia export terminal at the Port of Gladstone.

Acting Queensland Premier and Minister for State Development Steven Miles said the project would be a big boost to the local economy.

“Commitments like this help to propel Central Queensland towards becoming a clean energy powerhouse, as part of Queensland’s plan for economic recovery. H2U and Orica estimate the H2-Hub Gladstone project has potential to create over 550 jobs during construction, over 140 ongoing operational jobs and approximately 1,900 indirect jobs, and attract a $4.7 billion investment during its phased construction,” Mr Miles said.

H2U chief executive Attilio Pigneri welcomed the partnership with Orica and said that to be supported by “one of the leading players in the domestic ammonia industry is a huge vote of confidence”.

Orica president for Australia Pacific Germán Morales said the partnership was important in supporting sustainable development in the region.

“We’ve been operating in Yarwun for over 30 years, and are committed to ensuring our Yarwun facility and the Gladstone region remain competitive in a lower carbon economy, while creating more sustainable products for customers and opportunities across new industries,” Mr Morales said.

Queensland’s Minister for Regional Development and Manufacturing Glenn Butcher said that the project is able to leverage off Orica’s existing ammonia storage capacity at the Port of Gladstone and associated infrastructure in the Gladstone State Development Area which could facilitate large scale exports.

Also in Gladstone, Fortescue Future Industries is building the world’s largest electrolyser manufacturing facility, which is due to begin production in 2023.

In September 2021 the Australian Renewable Energy Agency gave $2.2 million in funding to fossil fuel company Stanwell Corporation to undertake a feasibility study into exporting liquid hydrogen from the Port of Gladstone to Japan.

The Queensland Hydrogen Industry Strategy 2019-2024 focuses on supporting innovation, facilitating private sector investment, ensuring an effective policy framework, building community awareness and confidence, and facilitating skills development for new technology.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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