Australia investigates building its largest hydrogen production plant

Article by Amanda Jasi

QUEENSLAND Government-owned power generation company Stanwell is spending A$5m (US$3.4m) to study the feasibility of a 10 MW or larger hydrogen production demonstration plant in Central Queensland, Australia. It would be largest plant of its kind in the country.

The plant would to be located about 1 km from the Stanwell Power Station near Rockhampton, Central Queensland.

The 12-month study, which started in July, will assess the technical, commercial, and strategic feasibility of an electrolysis plant for hydrogen production. Electrolysis is a process which uses electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. If built, the plant would use demineralised water already produced at Stanwell for hydrogen production.

The hydrogen produced by the potential plant could be: used to produce liquid ammonia, for use in fertilisers or as an industrial chemical; compressed and sold as a gas for various uses, including manufacturing; or compressed and used to generate electricity in gas turbines or fuel cells.

During the feasibility study, Stanwell intends to further investigate the above options as well as others to determine a preferred pathway(s). 

Additionally, a key activity of the study will be to finalise a detailed design, including all of the safety aspects.

By deploying electrolysis for hydrogen production at a large scale, the plant could help drive down production costs and support the development of domestic and export markets for hydrogen. Stanwell aims to encourage growth of the hydrogen export industry in Central Queensland.

The plant could also improve the flexibility of the Stanwell Power Station, allowing it to continue playing an important role in facilitating Queensland’s transition to a lower carbon future.

The plant is also expected to drive energy load growth in the region, ease pressure on the electricity network, and support renewable energy growth. It could also create jobs and attract investment to the region.

According to Queensland MP Cameron Dick, Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning, the surge of interest in hydrogen development in Central Queensland shows that the Government’s Queensland Hydrogen Industrial Strategy 2019-2024 is working.

He added: “I’m confident that in partnership with industry, universities and research institutes, we can develop a clean, green hydrogen export industry in Queensland.”

“Our Government is working hard to drive this industry forward, to create more local jobs, especially in our regions, and a stronger state economy.”

Stanwell is the largest electricity generator in Queensland, Australia, producing more than 4,000 MW of power using coal, gas, and hydropower stations. Stanwell Power Station is a highly automated station located 22 km west of Rockhampton. It is recognised as one of Australia’s most-efficient and economic coal-fired power stations.

Article by Amanda Jasi

Staff reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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