Jeremy Stone, non-executive Director of J-POWER Latrobe Valley, presented the Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC) Project to an audience of government and industry stakeholders at the New Gippsland Energy conference on 31 August in Sale.
He spoke about the success of the Pilot Project which was completed in early 2022 and updated the audience on the project’s success in securing a Japanese Government grant of some $2.35b and the current focus on finalising feasibility studies.
In a Q&A session shortly after, audience members were particularly interested in the projects potential to reduce Australia’s reliance on imported industrial chemicals, such as ammonia and fertiliser. According to the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Australia imported almost $5 billion worth of fertiliser in the 2021/22 financial year alone.
Mr. Stone said, “A joint venture between J-Power and Sumitomo corporation will produce clean hydrogen right here in Gippsland. It will create opportunities for existing and new local businesses to utilise the hydrogen in its pure form and also for it to be used in the production of ammonia, methanol, fertiliser, and aviation fuel. This will help reduce Australia’s reliance on overseas supply chains and boost Victoria’s sovereign capability in critical areas, while the liquified hydrogen will be exported to Japan to help decarbonise its economy.”
At the first stage in a commercial scale, the JPSC JV will produce 40,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) of clean hydrogen combined with carbon capture and storage, with 10,000 tpa available for the domestic market whilst Japan Suiso Energy liquefy 30,000 tonnes per year at the Port of Hastings for export to Japan.
Dr. Vicky Au, Deputy Lead of the CSIRO’s Hydrogen Industry Mission, took part in the Q&A alongside Mr. Stone and was asked about the safety of long-term hydrogen storage. She said it has been a tried and tested technology which had been used safely for many years.