Japan’s Sumitomo is aiming to create a hydrogen hub near one of Australia’s major liquefied natural gas export hubs.
The Japanese multinational has signed a memorandum of understanding with Gladstone Ports Corporation (GPC), Gladstone Regional Council, CQUniversity Australia and Australian Gas Infrastructure Group to develop a “hydrogen ecosystem” in Gladstone.
According to GPC, the proposed ecosystem will initially pursue domestic offtake and mobility solutions before moving to enable large-scale exports by 2030.
“Australia is uniquely positioned to be a world class hydrogen energy generator and exporter,” GPC acting chief executive Craig Walker said.
“With an exceptional port and the ability for the region to develop an abundance of clean energy, Gladstone is positioned to be Australia’s leading hydrogen export location by 2030.”
Queensland’s Minister for Regional Development & Manufacturing, Glenn Butcher, noted that the state’s establishment of an LNG export hub near Gladstone last decade showed the target of exporting hydrogen from the port by 2030 was possible.
“By 2030, Queensland will need a fully integrated, export-scale hydrogen supply chain if we are to meet the demand from countries like Japan,” Butcher said.
“Fortunately, Gladstone has an outstanding record in the development of energy exports from a standing start, considering we grew our A$70 billion (US$54.7 billion) LNG industry in just under a decade.
Queensland’s Minister for Energy, Renewables & Hydrogen, Mick de Brenni, said the project would prove supply chains and grow a domestic hydrogen market, while adding it showed international confidence in Queensland as a future renewable energy exporter.
“We know countries around the world, like Japan, have mandated decarbonisation and set clear targets – and they’re looking to Queensland for help to meet them,” said de Brenni.
“With access to existing water and gas pipeline infrastructure and publicly owned ports giving crucial access to domestic and international markets, Queensland is well placed to supply renewable hydrogen to the world and Sumitomo recognises this.”
Phased plan towards export hub
GPC said the MoU set out a “three-phased plan” commencing this year, with Sumitomo Australia managing director Yoshikazu Ishikawa adding the staged approach would allow "tangible milestones", while positioning Gladstone as "an industry leader in hydrogen utilisation and technology”.
“Uniquely positioned with a world class port, exceptional solar radiance, skills, knowledge and technology, Gladstone is a strategic location with significant hydrogen potential to benefit both Australia and Japan,” Ishikawa added.
The Queensland government noted in its statement that the Gladstone Hydrogen Ecosystem design study is currently targeted to commence next month.