Jeff Connolly of Siemens Australia Pacific with Terry Kallis of Hydrogen Renewables Australia

5GW plant for green hydrogen

Developments related to green hydrogen are shaping up in a big way in Western Australia with the proposed Murchison Renewable Hydrogen Project, a large-scale 5,000MW combined solar and wind farm. Hydrogen Renewables Australia and Siemens are joining forces for the development that will produce low-cost renewable hydrogen at “Australia’s best combined solar and wind site”.

The plant at Murchison House Station situated north of Geraldton could facilitate cost-effective production of green hydrogen for local industry and global export.

“We believe that Murchison Renewable Hydrogen Project’s location is the best in Australia for combined solar and wind [a claim based on a 2016 AECOM study] making it one of the most cost-effective spots to produce clean energy,” said Terry Kallis, executive chairman of Hydrogen Renewables Australia.

“We also believe that the project will contribute significantly to the national, state and local objectives for new investment, new jobs, renewable energy sources and new export markets.

“Imagine exporting West Australian sunshine and wind to the world in the form of hydrogen.”

In a significant milestone, HRA has entered into a Heritage Agreement with the local Nanda Aboriginal Corporation which formally supports the necessary Licence that allows resource monitoring process to proceed.

The Murchison Renewable Hydrogen Project would be developed in stages, with a demonstration phase providing hydrogen for transport fuels and an expansion to blend with natural gas in the nearby Dampier to Bunbury pipeline followed by a large expansion to produce hydrogen for the Asian markets.

Siemens Australia Pacific chief executive Jeff Connolly said, “Australia has potential like no other country in the world for hydrogen production and export – as long as we act upon the opportunity quickly.

“It’s heartening to see strong recent bipartisan leadership at both federal and state levels for hydrogen. There is a clear appetite for hydrogen around the world due to the energy transition away from fossil fuels and the need to decarbonise industry, transport systems and more. Not only Asia, but also Europe and other parts of the world are eyeing Australia as a potential giant in hydrogen,” he said.

“The Murchison Green Hydrogen project has great potential due to the enviable wind and solar conditions. Our modern electrolyser technology, the Siemens Silyzer, is very suited to the flexible nature of renewables … and Western Australia is well positioned to be part of the local and global needs for hydrogen.”

ARENA is also trumpeting Australia’s competitive advantage in the emerging hydrogen export market, based on the existing expertise and infrastructure in energy export supply chains, proximity to key emerging hydrogen markets in Asia and an abundance of renewable energy resources.

Last year ARENA, which has a stake in ATCO’s hydrogen microgrid in Western Australia, commissioned a report by ACIL Allen Consulting to look into the opportunities for Australia from hydrogen exports.

The report found that Australia is in a strong position to become a leading exporter of hydrogen, as global demand increases over the next decade, predicting Australia’s hydrogen export industry could be worth $1.7 billion annually to the economy and create 2,800 jobs by 2030.