Green hydrogen hub greenlit for New South Wales in A$207m deal

Article by Aniqah Majid

The hub is expected to initially deliver around 55 MW of electrolyser capacity by 2026

AUSTRALIA is powering on with its commitment for regional green hydrogen, with the New South Wales (NSW) government granting planning approval for a A$207.6m (US$137m) hydrogen hub in the city of Newcastle. 

The Hunter Valley hydrogen hub is a joint venture between Sydney-based Origin Energy and explosives manufacturer Orica.

Located in the industrial area of Kooragang Island in the city of Newcastle, the energy produced in phase one of the hub will be used as feedstock for Orica’s nearby ammonium nitrate manufacturing facility. The remainder will be available to transport customers looking to switch from diesel.

The hub is part of the Australian government’s wider A$500m plan to establish regional hydrogen hubs. Hubs have been earmarked for Queensland and South Australia, with the NSW government recently putting up A$70m for a facility in Pilbara, Western Australia.

Prime location for green hydrogen

Orica plan to use green hydrogen to replace natural gas for its production of low-carbon ammonia and ammonium nitrate, used extensively in NSW in the food, health, and mining industries. The company expects to save more than 52,000 t/y of greenhouse gas emissions.

Origin said that the hydrogen will be produced via electrolysis using wastewater and energy developers holding large-scale renewable generation certificates (LGCs) – a financial incentive for the generation of renewable energy from power stations.

The proposal for the hub states that wastewater will be sourced from Kooragang Water, and that the hydrogen will be transported using Australia’s established transport method of non-pipeline tube trailers, with a capacity to hold 400 kg of hydrogen.

NSW government said the hub will initially deliver approximately 55 MW of electrolyser capacity by 2026, with an aim of scaling production to more than 1 GW of capacity over the next decade.

Funding for the facility has been secured from the NSW Department of Climate Change, Energy, Environment and Water, and the Commonwealth Department of Climate Change, Energy, Environment and Water.

Sharon Claydon, federal member for Newcastle, said: “Green hydrogen will play a critical role in Australia’s transformation to net zero. I am pleased to see this important project progressing, following the A$70m investment from the Commonwealth Government.”

Origin will begin construction of the hub in mid-2025 and expects to create 160 construction jobs in the process.

Correction: this article incorrectly stated that the hydrogen hub would be based in Western Australia. It has been corrected to state that the hub will be in the city of Newcastle in New South Wales.

Article by Aniqah Majid

Staff reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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