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30 Jan 2023

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Australia and Germany Work Together on Gigawatt Green Hydrogen Projects

Posted with permission from ESG Impact Zone.

Australia and Germany have announced funding for three significant green hydrogen projects, including two that represent the first stage of what could be gigawatt scale projects in Queensland and NSW.

The funding is part of a total $100 million in grants made by a joint Australian-German initiative to promote green fuels, including a “world first” solar methanol plant and 10MW hydrogen electrolysed that will tap into the country’s first major solar thermal project in Port Augusta, South Australia.

The two-gigawatt scale green hydrogen projects are being proposed for Townsville in north Queensland by a consortium led by Edify Energy and Siemens, and in the Illawarra in NSW by Atco.

Edify Energy and Siemens will receive more than $A40 million from the two governments – in Australia’s case via the Australian Renewable Energy Agency – to build a 17.5MW electrolyser and 21MW of integrated behind the meter solar PV and battery storage to produce renewable hydrogen.

The hydrogen will be used for domestic industrial and transport applications, and Edify says it is the first stage of a planned 1GW green hydrogen production facility that will also include green hydrogen exports.

It says is negotiating the first off take agreements.

“Australia’s place on the world stage as a leading provider of green hydrogen is taking shape and we look forward to doing what we do best – delivering the economic, environmental and social benefits of green hydrogen to communities of Northern Queensland and the world,” Edify CEO John Cole said in a statement.

The project is part of the North Queensland Hydrogen Consortium. It is not clear from the statement, but the funded project could be linked to the green hydrogen plans previously announced by Edify Energy at the Landsdown industrial park near Townsville. RenewEconomy has sought clarification.

The Atco project, known as ScaleH2, is the first step to another planned gigawatt scale electrolyser project and 800,000 tonne per year green ammonia facility in the Illawarra, in NSW, with the produce to be exported to Germany.

“ATCO has set its sights on exports to global markets and the ScaleH2 project will further advance our ambitions to expand our capabilities as a hydrogen leader in Australia and the globe,” said Karen Nielsen, the head of global renewables at ATCO.

“The ScaleH2 project, with our partners, will accelerate understanding across industry of hydrogen’s economic potential towards a clean energy future.”

Atco says it will work with UNSW, University of Technology Sydney (UTS), Fraunhofer IST, Fraunhofer IEG, TU Braunschweig, Uniper, Eisenhuth, Open Hybrid LabFactory, and Salzgitter on the projects.

Australia hydrogen start-up Hysata has also received around $18 million to support the development of the company’s “capillary-fed” electrolyser technology that the company claims will deliver the most efficient electrolyser in the world.

It claims 95% system efficiency, a “giant leap” in performance and cost over incumbent technologies, which typically operate at 75% or less.

“Australia has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to be a global leader in green hydrogen and we are delighted to see the Government backing Australian innovators,” CEO Paul Barrett said in a statement.

“Our technology will enhance sovereign manufacturing capabilities, create high skilled jobs and position Australia as a green hydrogen powerhouse by providing electrolysers for domestic projects and exports.”

Australian energy minister Chris Bowen met with German economy minister Robert Habeck and education minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger in Berlin, where the four joint projects were announced under the German–Australian Hydrogen Innovation and Technology Incubator (HyGATE) initiative.

According to Clean Energy Wire, the governments also released a joint summary report on the German-Australian Hydrogen Feasibility Study, which said much still needs to be done to establish a renewable hydrogen supply chain.

“My goal is that the first delivery will arrive in Germany by 2030 at the latest,” said Stark-Watzinger.

“These projects demonstrate Australia’s role as a world leader in renewable energy production, reducing the cost of hydrogen production and paving the way for exports,” Bowen said of the projects.

Photo from ESG Impact Zone.

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