Project to turn coal to liquid hydrogen begins in Australia

The Australian-Japanese collaboration could reduce carbon emissions by 1.8m tonnes per year, equivalent to the emissions of 350,000 petrol cars

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The Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC) pilot project has begun operations at its sites in Victoria, Australia, in what its partners claim is the world’s first integrated supply chain turning coal into liquid hydrogen.

The HESC project safely produces and transports clean liquid hydrogen from Australia’s Latrobe Valley in the state of Victoria to Kobe in Japan. It has begun creating hydrogen gas from coal in Latrobe Valley, liquifying it at the Port of Hastings and shipping it to Japan.

It is being delivered by Kawasaki Heavy Industries, J-POWER, Iwatani Corporation, Marubeni Corporation, AGL and Sumitomo Corporation with support from the Australian and Japanese governments.

The project’s partners claim this process is a world-first and a significant step for Australia to become a key player in the emerging hydrogen economy.

The Victorian and Commonwealth Government’s CarbonNet project is developing in parallel with HESC to help bring it to market.

The HESC partners reveal that if both projects are commercialised, carbon dioxide captured during hydrogen production would be transported and stored by CarbonNet using carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology.

This would mean that carbon emissions would be stored in rocks 1.5 kilometres below the Bass Strait sea in Australia, rather than entering the atmosphere.

It is estimated that a commercial-scale HESC project could produce 225,000 tonnes of clean hydrogen annually with CCS.

J-POWER’s Jeremy Stone commented: “A commercial-scale HESC can leverage and build local skills, potentially creating thousands of jobs. This will include long-term employment in a new clean energy industry for the people of Gippsland.

“Latrobe Valley has a proud history powering Australia and today we celebrate the next generation of energy technology in the region.

“We estimate our project could reduce carbon emissions by 1.8 million tonnes per year, equivalent to the emissions of some 350,000 petrol cars.”