Forum to focus on hydrogen potential

A seminar exploring the Latrobe Valley's potential to become a major hydrogen producer will be held as the construction of a coal-to-hydrogen plant, announced by former Prime Minister last year, is due to begin in the coming weeks. file photograph
A seminar exploring the Latrobe Valley's potential to become a major hydrogen producer will be held as the construction of a coal-to-hydrogen plant, announced by former Prime Minister last year, is due to begin in the coming weeks. file photograph

Australia's chief scientist Dr Alan Finkel will be the key speaker at a forum at Churchill's Federation University next month which will highlight the Latrobe Valley's potential to become a major hydrogen producer from brown coal.

The forum, 'Hydrogen: a pathway to environmental and regional prosperity – where to for Gippsland?', will be held in the auditorium at the university on Thursday, August 8. It is being run by Australian Carbon Innovation and Federation University.

Joining Dr Finkel will be leading researchers from the CSIRO, industry, government and universities who will discuss the different types of hydrogen production, their uses and applications and will showcase some of the latest advances in research into new technologies.

The seminar comes as construction of a coal-to-hydrogen pilot plant next to the Loy Yang A power station is due to start within weeks. The Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain project (HESC) is being built by J-Power, a Japanese consortium backed by AGL and the Australian and Victorian Governments.

Leading J-Power executives – director and chief operating officer Seiji Hongo and managing director and chief technology officer Koji Omata – are among the guest speakers at the forum.

Topics at the forum include 'Hydrogen – the production process', 'Hydrogen – the social and end user perspective' and a panel discussion: 'Hydrogen – A regional success story or just a pipedream?'.

Other speakers include CSIRO research director, oil, gas and fuels at energy Dr Patrick Hartley, Global CCS Institute chief executive Brad Page, University of Queensland sustainable energy futures chairwoman Professor Peta Ashworth, Melbourne Energy Institute at University of Melbourne director Professor Michael Brear and Toyota Motor Corporation of Australia senior engagement and education specialist Troy D'Souza.

Dr Finkel has been a driving force behind the national hydrogen strategy which has been adopted by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Energy Council.

Dr Finkel said in the strategy that hydrogen was an opportunity for Australia to lead in the emerging market for low and zero emissions energy. Global demand for hydrogen for energy use, now only 1 million tonnes, was conservatively estimated to rise to 8 million tonnes by 2030 and about 35 million tonnes by 2040.

"Japan, South Korea and China are likely to be key markets," he said.

Dr Finkel said Australia's potential as a future major hydrogen supplier had been confirmed in new reports by the World Energy Council and the International Energy Agency.

"Most of the jobs created by this new industry are likely to be in regional areas, at sites of hydrogen production, storage and loading for export," he said.

A CSIRO study estimated that coal with carbon capture and storage can be up to 13 times cheaper than hydrogen produced by curtailed renewable energy – the real amount of energy produced by wind and solar when the wind is not blowing and the sun is not shining.

The HESC trial plant at Loy Yang will run for 12 months starting in mid-2020, testing the viability of a combination of several existing technologies. The plant will be within the AGL Loy Yang complex at Bartons Lane between the power stations, three to five kilometres from nearby homes and eight kilometres south-east of the Traralgon town centre.

Over 12 months of testing, J-Power will use up to 160 tonnes of brown coal to produce three tonnes of hydrogen before the plant is shut down and removed from the site.

The long-term plan, if trials are successful, is to gasify the coal and store the carbon dioxide produced in the process in an offshore reservoir in Bass Strait. The hydrogen would then be transported to the Port of Hastings to be liquified and loaded onto specialist tankers for shipment to Japan.

Community organisations and individuals from the Latrobe Valley and other parts of Gippsland are invited to attend and have their questions answered. Applications to attend should be submitted by July 25 by visiting aci-fu-hydrogen-forum.eventbrite.com.au.

The forum, 'Hydrogen: a pathway to environmental and regional prosperity – where to for Gippsland?', will be held in the auditorium at the university on Thursday, August 8. It is being run by Australian Carbon Innovation and Federation University.

Joining Dr Finkel will be leading researchers from the CSIRO, industry, government and universities who will discuss the different types of hydrogen production, their uses and applications and will showcase some of the latest advances in research into new technologies.

The seminar comes as construction of a coal-to-hydrogen pilot plant next to the Loy Yang A power station is due to start within weeks. The Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain project (HESC) is being built by J-Power, a Japanese consortium backed by AGL and the Australian and Victorian Governments.

Leading J-Power executives – director and chief operating officer Seiji Hongo and managing director and chief technology officer Koji Omata – are among the guest speakers at the forum.

Topics at the forum include 'Hydrogen – the production process', 'Hydrogen – the social and end user perspective' and a panel discussion: 'Hydrogen – A regional success story or just a pipedream?'.

Other speakers include CSIRO research director, oil, gas and fuels at energy Dr Patrick Hartley, Global CCS Institute chief executive Brad Page, University of Queensland sustainable energy futures chairwoman Professor Peta Ashworth, Melbourne Energy Institute at University of Melbourne director Professor Michael Brear and Toyota Motor Corporation of Australia senior engagement and education specialist Troy D'Souza.

Dr Finkel has been a driving force behind the national hydrogen strategy which has been adopted by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Energy Council.

Dr Finkel said in the strategy that hydrogen was an opportunity for Australia to lead in the emerging market for low and zero emissions energy. Global demand for hydrogen for energy use, now only 1 million tonnes, was conservatively estimated to rise to 8 million tonnes by 2030 and about 35 million tonnes by 2040.

"Japan, South Korea and China are likely to be key markets," he said.

Dr Finkel said Australia's potential as a future major hydrogen supplier had been confirmed in new reports by the World Energy Council and the International Energy Agency.

"Most of the jobs created by this new industry are likely to be in regional areas, at sites of hydrogen production, storage and loading for export," he said.

A CSIRO study estimated that coal with carbon capture and storage can be up to 13 times cheaper than hydrogen produced by curtailed renewable energy – the real amount of energy produced by wind and solar when the wind is not blowing and the sun is not shining.

The HESC trial plant at Loy Yang will run for 12 months starting in mid-2020, testing the viability of a combination of several existing technologies. The plant will be within the AGL Loy Yang complex at Bartons Lane between the power stations, three to five kilometres from nearby homes and eight kilometres south-east of the Traralgon town centre.

Over 12 months of testing, J-Power will use up to 160 tonnes of brown coal to produce three tonnes of hydrogen before the plant is shut down and removed from the site.

The long-term plan, if trials are successful, is to gasify the coal and store the carbon dioxide produced in the process in an offshore reservoir in Bass Strait. The hydrogen would then be transported to the Port of Hastings to be liquified and loaded onto specialist tankers for shipment to Japan.

Community organisations and individuals from the Latrobe Valley and other parts of Gippsland are invited to attend and have their questions answered. Applications to attend should be submitted by July 25 by visiting aci-fu-hydrogen-forum.eventbrite.com.au.

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