Japan Partners with Australia on Green H2 Supply Chain

Four Japanese companies, Iwatani Corporation, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Kansai Electric Power, and Marubeni Corporation, have signed a memorandum of understanding with two energy infrastructure companies headquartered in Australia, Stanwell Corporation Limited and APT Management Services Pty, to jointly implement a feasibility study of the Central Queensland Hydrogen Project (CQ- H2).

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This project will produce hydrogen on a large scale using renewable energy, liquefy it at the Port of Gladstone, Queensland, Australia, and then export the liquefied hydrogen to Japan, stated the joint statement of the companies.

Since hydrogen is widely expected to be an indispensable energy resource for the realization of a zero-carbon society, the creation of a hydrogen supply chain, which includes transportation from overseas, is considered essential.

However, since the currently established hydrogen production technology using fossil fuels emits CO2 during the production process, in order to achieve a zero-carbon society, it is necessary to establish CO2-free hydrogen production in combination with CO2 capture and storage technology and the use of renewable energy.

Since the competition for the acquisition of CO2-free hydrogen sources has intensified globally, it is important to secure a low-cost power supply from renewable energy sources and export ports.

Against this backdrop, the Queensland government has been promoting the energy transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy and hydrogen. Moreover, Queensland has an extremely high potential for renewable energy, since the area experiences favorable weather conditions for more than 300 days a year.

Stanwell, an electric power corporation owned by the Queensland government, also plays a key role in achieving this energy transition goal.

As such, from 2019 to 2020 Iwatani and Stanwell conducted a concept study of the production of green liquefied hydrogen and its export to Japan. Based on the findings of the study, the six Japanese and Australian companies agreed to fully implement a feasibility study to examine the commercial viability of the project.

The CQ- H2 project aims to produce and supply low-cost hydrogen reliably over the long-term and has set goals of producing at least 100 tons of hydrogen per day around 2026, and 800 tons of hydrogen per day from 2031.

Currently, the production volume of liquefied hydrogen in Japan is 30 tons per day maximum, meaning that the target production volume of 800 tons per day from 2031 is about 26 times as much as the current production volume in Japan.

The use of the Aldoga site (235 hectares), a hydrogen production base secured by Stanwell in the Gladstone region, will be considered for the Project, and a site of about 100 hectares in Fisherman’s Landing is to be acquired as a hydrogen liquefaction and loading base.

The CQ- H2 project will also consider supplying green hydrogen, not only for export to Japan, but also to meet local demand. The feasibility study will focus on examinations of production technology mainly for green hydrogen, the construction of hydrogen liquefaction plants and liquefied hydrogen carriers, associated finance and environmental assessments, and commercialization models.

Through the activities of the project, all six companies will make every effort to create a bilateral large-scale hydrogen supply chain promoted by the Japanese and Australian governments and thereby contribute to the realisation of a zero-carbon society, said the joint statement.

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Soumya Duggal

Soumya is a master's degree holder in English, with a passion for writing. It's an interest she has directed towards environmental writing recently, with a special emphasis on the progress being made in renewable energy.

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