The Australian government is providing over A$100 million (US$77.3 million) in funding for three commercial-scale green hydrogen projects.
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (Arena) confirmed Wednesday it had conditionally approved A$103.3 million towards three projects as part of its Renewable Hydrogen Deployment Funding Round.
French multinational Engie will receive up to A$42.5 million towards a 10-megawatt electrolyser project to produce renewable hydrogen in a consortium with Yara Pilbara Fertilisers, at the Norwegian company’s existing ammonia facility in Karratha, Western Australia.
The electrolyser will be powered by a solar photovoltaic plant and the development is expected to produce up to 625 tonnes of renewable hydrogen per annum. A final investment decision is anticipated this year, with first production expected in 2023.
Arena will also provide Australian Gas Infrastructure Group (AGIG) up to A$32.1 million towards a 10 MW electrolyser for gas blending at its Hydrogen Park Murray Valley project in Wodonga, Victoria.
AGIG is also partnered with Engie at the HyP Murray Valley project, with the pair aiming to take a final investment decision on the project next year as they target first hydrogen production by mid-2023.
The project will enable the blending of up to 10% renewable hydrogen into AGIG’s existing natural gas network to supply more than 40,000 existing residential, commercial and industrial customers.
"This project is yet another example of how renewable hydrogen production and distribution platforms can contribute to the energy transition by offering multi-purpose carbon-neutral solutions,” chief executive of Engie’s hydrogen business, Michele Azalbert, said.
“Our expertise in renewable hydrogen, AGIG's well-established network and experience, the Australian government's support and the project's replicability – all this can enable significant development of renewable hydrogen throughout the country.”
Finally, Atco Australia will be granted up to A$28.7 million towards a 10 MW electrolyser for gas blending at its Clean Energy Innovation Park (CEIP) in Warradarge, Western Australia.
AGIG is also a partner at CEIP, where the 10 MW electrolyser and plant will be capable of producing up to 4 tonnes of hydrogen per day.
The project will be located within the 180 MW Warradarge wind farm, which will provide renewable electricity to power the electrolyser, while hydrogen will be trucked to gas network injection points. A final investment decision is expected towards the end of 2022.
“ATCO and AGIG are already significant players in the Western Australia gas market, providing distribution and transmission services respectively, and the CEIP joint venture brings together our strengths to establish a commercial hydrogen sector in the state,” AGIG chief executive Ben Wilson said.
“We look forward to working with ATCO who bring with them extensive energy and hydrogen industry experience locally and internationally."
Among the world's largest electrolysers
Arena noted that the 10MW electrolysers would be among the largest to be built, so far, globally.
“We’re excited to have chosen three projects we believe will help kickstart renewable hydrogen production in Australia at a large scale. One of the projects will see clean hydrogen used to make ammonia for export and the other two will blend clean hydrogen into our gas pipelines to help decarbonise our natural gas networks,” Arena chief executive Darren Miller said.
“Our hydrogen industry in Australia is in its infancy, so the lessons learned from these three projects - and the entire funding round - will be important in driving our future hydrogen economy.”
Arena launched the Renewable Hydrogen Deployment Funding Round last year in a bid to help fast track the development of renewable hydrogen in Australia.
It is hoped the funding will help commercialise key component technologies and facilitate cost reductions for producing renewable hydrogen, with the government targeting a production cost of under A$2 per kilogram for clean hydrogen.
Arena received 36 expressions of interest for the recent funding round and, following an initial assessment, seven projects were then shortlisted and invited to submit a full application.
The agency also increased its original A$70 million funding envelope by A$33.3 million in order to support the three selected projects, which have a combined project value of A$161 million.