Latrobe Valley

Hydrogen Production

During the pilot phase hydrogen gas was successfully produced at a newly constructed plant located at the AGL Loy Yang Complex in the Latrobe Valley.

Stage 1. Latrobe Valley Coal Gasification

Location: Loy Yang, Latrobe Valley

Hydrogen was produced through extraction from Latrobe Valley coal and biomass by gasification. Gasification is a well-developed technology and core to current Integrated coal Gasifier Combined Cycle (IGCC) developments used for power generation in Japan, US, EU and China.

Gasification works by reacting coal (also mixed with biomass) with oxygen under high pressure and temperature to form synthesis gas (syngas), a mixture consisting primarily of carbon monoxide (CO) and hydrogen (H2). The pilot gasification plant includes a drying and milling system developed specifically for Latrobe Valley coal, and has produced about 1 tonne of hydrogen gas so far.

Stage 2. Gas Refining

Location: Loy Yang, Latrobe Valley

This element of the pilot supply chain demonstrated the effective production of hydrogen from syngas.

During gas refining, the syngas was purified when reacted with steam to produce additional hydrogen and carbon dioxide. The carbon monoxide was converted to carbon dioxide with steam, then the hydrogen is separated. For the pilot phase, carbon credits were purchased for the CO2 produced and a carbon capture and storage system will be implemented for the commercial phase.

The hydrogen produced was refined to achieve a 99.999% purity specification for transportation.

Stage 3. Road Transport

Location: Latrobe Valley to Port of Hastings

As part of the pilot phase, hydrogen gas was transported to the liquefaction plant at the Port of Hastings by road in high pressure tube trailers. This method of transporting hydrogen gas is common practice in Australia.

HESC Transport Map

Status of the Latrobe Valley plant:

  • Hydrogen gas has now successfully been produced.
  • In the Latrobe Valley, approximately 150 direct jobs were created for the construction phase, while 10 were created for the operations of the facility.
  • The site has an overall footprint of approximately half a hectare (5,000 square metres). 
  • The facility is now in a care and maintenance phase.