The South Australian government is looking to establish the state as a green hydrogen export hub with its backing of, what it claims will be, the world’s largest green ammonia plant.

The state government confirmed Thursday it would allocate A$37 million (US$26.5 million) in the upcoming 2020/21 state budget to upgrade the Port Bonython jetty at the site of A$240 million H2U Eyre Peninsula Gateway hydrogen project.

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The initial stage of the project will see the installation of a 75-megawatt electrolyser, which will be 60 times larger than Australia’s current largest electrolyser at Tonsley in Adelaide, with the development to have the capacity to produce 40,000 tonnes of ammonia per annum.

Export market

South Australian Premier Steven Marshall claims the jetty upgrade will help unlock “significant investment and export opportunities” for the state, with hydrogen driving renewed interest in Port Bonython.

“My government has also been working to assist Australian company H2U to establish connections with potential international customers, and their hydrogen project at Pt Bonython is a very exciting one for South Australia,” Marshall added.

“The A$240 million demonstrator phase of the project is of global significance, but it is just the precursor to a much larger production and export facility, that could see us also strengthen our energy ties with traditional trading partners.”

South Australia’s Minister for Trade and Investment Stephen Patterson claimed the state had “big hydrogen ambitions”, with the goal of becoming a national and international exporter of clean power.

“Japan in particular has identified green ammonia as a key fuel to reduce their carbon emissions and fuel their economy, and we are keen to contribute to that,” he added.

There is already a Japanese connection to the development, with conglomerate Mitsubishi Heavy Industries the major technology supplier for the project.

“This project will help drive the development of the emerging markets for green hydrogen and green ammonia and offers the opportunity to export South Australia’s abundant solar and wind resources to support deep decarbonisation in the global energy, industrial and shipping sectors,” H2U chief executive Attilio Pigneri said.

“In the energy sector, Japan is leading the way with their plan to introduce green ammonia as a substitute fuel, to help meet its decarbonisation targets.”

Completion of the initial phase of the H2U Eyre Peninsula Gateway hydrogen project is currently being targeted for late 2022.