Latrobe Valley locals learn the ropes at HESC gasification site

Jay Murphy (left) and Ashley Withell at the HESC Project’s Latrobe Valley site

Jay Murphy, Electrical Apprentice, and Ashley Withell, Trade Assistant, are junior tradespeople employed to work on the Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC) Project. They are among some 150 people who have been employed to construct the coal to hydrogen gasification and refining facility in the Latrobe Valley. J-Power, one of Japan’s largest utility companies is using its cutting-edge technology and deep expertise in the power sector to design, build and operate the facility.

Hailing from nearby Traralgon, both are thrilled to be part of the HESC Project. The future of hydrogen in Australia is bright, and Jay and Ashley realise they are gaining innovative skills they can apply to their future careers.  

The pair shared their experiences so far.

Q: What is a typical day working on this project?

Jay: My day includes a range of jobs including electrical earthing (laying cables underground), building cableways, glanding, terminating and installing cables, setting up lighting and completing pre-commissioning work.

Ashley:  Typically, I have to sanitise brew huts due to COVID-19, maintain material and equipment stores, operate forklifts and other power equipment.

Q: What excites you about working on a project of this kind?

Jay:  It has been an exciting experience working on a new world-first project in my own backyard. Everything has been new to me and I have acquired a range of new skills in an emerging industry.

Ashley:  It is exciting being part of building something unlike anything else in Australia and witnessing new ways of working from others around me.

Q: What excites you about the potential of hydrogen?

Jay: The potential of hydrogen excites me because it would bring a whole new industry and hundreds of employment opportunities to the Latrobe Valley.

Ashley: It’s exciting hearing about the potential of hydrogen as a new source of energy and the ways it may benefit the environment.

Once operational, the HESC Project will deliver more job opportunities in the Latrobe Valley. A commercial-scale hydrogen industry in Victoria has the potential to create thousands of new jobs in the Latrobe Valley.

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