Australian Energy from Hydrogen
Australia took an important step towards developing a hydrogen industry in May 2020 when key legislation passed through Parliament. It is thought that the brown coal resources in the Latrobe Valley in the Gippsland Basin in south-east Australia – 25% of the world’s known brown coal reserves – are the ideal feedstock for hydrogen generation, creating energy that can both be used in the state of Victoria and potentially exported.
In fact, a pilot project to look at ways of safely and efficiently producing and transporting clean hydrogen from the Latrobe Valley to Japan was set up in 2018. Called the Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain, this is the first such pilot project in the world. The project envisages a seven-stage hydrogen supply chain, which first requires the gasification of brown coal to produce synthetic gases, including hydrogen. The refined hydrogen gas would then be sent by truck from the Latrobe Valley to the Port of Hastings in Victoria, where it would be converted to hydrogen liquid, stored, and ultimately transported to Japan using an advanced technology, purpose-built ship. If the pilot is successful, commercial production should commence this decade. The project would require carbon capture and storage to ensure low emissions.
The photo above shows the the Suiso Frontier, the world’s first liquefied hydrogen carrier, launched in December 2019 in Japan; the large central hydrogen tank is not yet installed.