Plans to build a $A350 million commercial-scale renewable hydrogen plant north of Perth in Western Australia have taken a major step forward this week, after energy services company Petrofac was tapped to conduct the engineering, procurement and design for the facility.
Green Hydrogen specialist Infinite Blue Energy Group said on Monday that it had entered into an agreement with Petrofac to progress the landmark Arrowsmith project through front-end engineering design ahead of the final investment decision in early 2021.
Perth-based IBE said the Arrowsmith Plant would be built in an area with “abundant” renewable resources, and is projected to produce 25 tonnes of “zero carbon” hydrogen each day, thanks in part to what has been flagged as 85MW of onsite solar power and a supplementary 75MW of wind energy.
Once complete – the goal is for late 2022 – the company hopes to be able to expand operations to a global scale and to export liquid hydrogen to the Asia Pacific. Petrofac said on Monday it was working diligently with IBE to facilitate the production schedule.
The appointment of Petrofac builds on that company’s renewable engineering, procurement and construction experience, which includes the massive 900MW BorWin3 offshore wind project for German-Dutch transmission grid operator TenneT.
“This is breaking new ground in terms of green hydrogen production, but the various elements of the design are all well-established and are proven technologies,” said Petrofac operations director Adam Cheesman.
“This agreement with IBE is an important milestone for Petrofac as it continues its expansion into new and renewable energy,” Cheesman added.
“We want to be the partner of choice when it comes to hydrogen production, offering services across the asset life cycle, including operations and maintenance support.”
IBE secured investment for the Arrowsmith Hydrogen Project earlier this year, and then in September announced the appointment of global energy consultancy Xodus Group to carry out phase-one work on the project.
Under the IBE model, the Arrowsmith Green Hydrogen Plant is scalable, and the company plans to develop a number of large-scale green hydrogen facilities across both W.A. and New South Wales.
In May, IBE said that it was working on plans for a massive 1,000MW wind and solar facility in NSW, that could supply green hydrogen to major industrial manufacturers within the next seven years.
“Through the completion of the Arrowsmith project and IBE’s innovative business model, Australia can advance its interests on the global stage as a leader in the development of ground-breaking green hydrogen energy solutions and accelerate the creation of a major employment strategy and industry for Australia in the immediate future,” said IBE CEO Stephen Gauld.
“We are delighted to work with Petrofac, who bring world-class engineering experience to this vital project.”
The Western Australian government, which has supported the state’s renewable hydrogen industry with strong targets and a $22 million funding boost, said the state was positioning itself as a world leader in hydrogen production.
“Investing in renewable hydrogen and bringing forward our targets sends a clear message to the industry that we are serious about Western Australia being powered by clean energy,” said regional development minister Alannah MacTiernan on Monday.
As reported here, green hydrogen – which is hydrogen created using electrolysis powered by renewable electricity, rather than fossil fuels – is riding a wave of interest and popularity, especially in Australia.
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) received 36 expressions of interest to develop green hydrogen projects totalling almost 500MW in response to a $70million funding round launched in April. Combined, the shortlisted projects were requesting over $200 million in grant support to undertake projects worth more than $500 million.