The Australian Renewable Energy Agency has awarded $1.5 million in support for a feasibility study into a green hydrogen hub at Newcastle, the east coast’s biggest port.
The study would be led by Port of Newcastle and Macquarie’s Green Investment Group, with involvement by project partners Idemitsu, Keolis Downer, Lake Macquarie, Snowy Hydro, Jemena, Macquarie Agriculture and University of Newcastle. The total value was given as $3 million.
ARENA said the deep water port used under half of its channel capacity and currently saw roughly 4,400 ship movements and over 160 million tonnes of cargo moved per year. It was also surrounded by existing relevant industries, workers and infrastructure.
The study would “ultimately determine the optimal site within the Port for the hub as a springboard for renewable hydrogen to flow within the region and future export.” It would be underpinned by a 40 megawatt electrolyser and consider a future staged scaling up to 1 gigawatts and the ability to produce up to 150,000 tonnes of hydrogen annually for domestic and export use.
“[A 40 megawatt electrolyser] would be four times bigger than the current largest electrolysers in the world,” said federal energy and industry minister Angus Taylor.
“Producing hydrogen in the Hunter not only provides fantastic export opportunities, but also the chance to grow local industries such as using clean ammonia for domestic fertiliser use.
The work would also research possible use cases “including customer-led studies into mobility, bunkering, energy production, and industrial applications such as renewable ammonia” at scale.
“We’re excited to be a part of this feasibility study which presents an opportunity to accelerate the diversification of Port of Newcastle which is crucial as Australia starts its journey to net zero by 2050,” said ARENA chief executive Darren Miller in a statement.
The news follows an announcement by ARENA in September of a $2.17 million grant supporting a feasibility study for exporting green hydrogen to Japan from Gladstone’s port.
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