Western Australia onshore gas company and geothermal hopeful Strike Energy is turning its hand to renewable hydrogen production, starting with the addition of a 10MW electrolyser to the urea fertiliser production facility it is developing in WA’s Mid West Region.
The ASX-listed Strike said on Wednesday that it had entered into separate non-binding memoranda of understanding (MOU) with engineering outfit ATCO and green hydrogen specialist Infinite Blue Energy for collaboration on key infrastructure for the “low-carbon fertiliser” facility, as well as for green hydrogen offtake.
Strike said the dedicated on-site electrolyser would produce 1,825 tpa of green hydrogen, or around ~2% of the total hydrogen feedstock of the urea fertiliser plant, with the remainder – at least initially – to come from “lower carbon” gas, which is rather more grey than green, on the hydrogen spectrum.
According to the diagram below, taken from the company’s website, the plan is to power the electrolyser with geothermal energy, which Strike is hopeful of sourcing from the Perth Basin, where it is also in the process of commercialising a “significant” gas discovery.
“These hydrogen supplies combined with Strike’s lower carbon natural gas from the Greater Erregulla region will produce what is projected to be some of the lowest carbon urea fertiliser available in the market,” the company said.
Over time, however, the plan is for Strike to seek to increase the green hydrogen feedstock of the plant with other sources of the renewable fuel from developers and suppliers in the Mid-West region.
“Strike has a dominant position in the Perth Basin’s Permian Gas Fairway, which has the potential to grow into one of Australia’s largest onshore gas resources,” the company’s website says.
“Using a combination of abundant, affordable natural gas, and sustainable baseload power from geothermal energy, we are building an integrated energy and manufacturing business that will supply competitive urea fertiliser to Australian farmers, replacing imports.”
For now, Strike says the MOUs with ATCO and Infinite Blue Energy will “facilitate alignment between the parties on the key infrastructure priorities for the Mid-West region, and …petition for their development with the WA government.
“The development of these key pieces of infrastructure (power transmission, desalinated water, pipeline corridors etc) also has the potential to improve the scale and speed of other projects in the region as the WA hydrogen economy looks to grow,” the company said.
Strike is also touting Project Haber’s potential to “transition into a carbon sink” by displacing methane linked hydrogen with green hydrogen sourced from the Mid-West.
The theory is that once it exceeds 40% of green hydrogen in its feedstock mix the plant will be required to start importing carbon dioxide in order to continue manufacturing urea fertiliser. How this arrangement works in favour of the increasingly urgent need to cut carbon emissions is less clear.
“Project Haber continues to progress as the economics, carbon and collective benefits combine to make a compelling and beneficial investment for Strike, WA and Australia’s agricultural and farming communities,” said Strike Energy CEO and managing director Stuart Nicholls.
“Incorporating green hydrogen in Project Haber’s urea production process will enable Strike to produce some of the lowest carbon urea possible and potentially create one of Australia’s largest carbon sinks, moving Strike into carbon negative territory.”