Industry partners for Marshall-era SA hydrogen hub confirmed

Brandon How

The South Australian government has confirmed the companies expected to develop projects at its Port Bonython Hydrogen Hub, more than two years after projects were shortlisted by the former Liberal Marshall government.

On Monday, Premier Peter Malinauskas announced that five companies had signed development agreements that provide a pathway to securing a long-term land lease at Port Bonython.

The partners of the state-led Port Bonython Hub, which will feature common user infrastructure for the production and export of hydrogen, are Canadian AMP Energy, Fortescue Energy, Australia-based infrastructure firm The Hydrogen Utility, Origin Energy, and Santos.

In early March 2022, the Marshall government announced that eight industry participants would be undertaking development work at the hub. The expression of interest process was initiated in May 2021 and seven successful project proposals shortlisted in October.

The three partners that the Malinauskas government has not yet confirmed having development agreements with are Japanese firms Chiyoda, Eneos Australia, and Mitsubishi Australia.

Port Bonython, South Australia. Image: SA government

Energy and Mining minister Tom Koutsantonis said in a statement that he was delighted that “these five significant project partners share our vision for the Port Bonython Hydrogen Hub and see South Australia’s potential as a world-class hydrogen supplier”.

The Port Bonython Hydrogen Hub Activation initiative, led by the South Australian state government, will make initial investments, with industry support, in common-user infrastructure needed to support hydrogen export projects.

Initial work will focus on “delivering the design and construction of marine export infrastructure, expected to include an upgrade of the existing single berth jetty and the infrastructure traversing the jetty, including the non-process infrastructure, pipes, racks, marine loading arms (MLAs) and temporary works facilitating construction”, according to GrantConnect.

The state government is also undertaking environmental studies to minimise the impact on marine life at Port Bonython, which includes the giant Australian cuttlefish.

The Port Bonython Hub was a flagship development of the Marshall government which committed $30 million to its development in its 2022-23 state budget.

Following the comprehensive victory of Malinauskas’ Labor party in the March 2022 state election, the federal Coalition government ensured the project would have a future by committing $70 million to the hub’s development through its Clean Hydrogen Industrial Hubs program.

This was backed by the Albanese government which executed the grant agreement last September as a part of the rebadged Regional Hydrogen Hubs Program.

Confirmation of the industry partners that have signed development agreements with the South Australian government follows a flurry of announcements relating to the Malinauskas’ government’s $593 million plan to develop a state-owned hydrogen electrolyser and power plant at Whyalla.

This included an agreement to begin commercial negotiations for the sale of green hydrogen as inputs to the production of steel at Whyalla Steelworks as well as announcing the provider of the hydrogen turbines to be used in its Whyalla power station.

The announcements were made as a part of the state government’s Major Economic Summit in the Upper Spence Gulf.

With the state government leading two major hydrogen initiatives, Premier Malinauskas said they are “investing in South Australia’s renewable future”.

“South Australia is already a leader in the global energy transformation, and with some of the world’s best wind and solar resources, we have a competitive edge to produce renewable hydrogen.”

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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