Queensland’s green hydrogen export prospects have received a further boost, with the government-owned Stanwell Corporation inking a deal with Japanese hydrogen giant Iwatani to partner in the development of a green hydrogen export terminal in Gladstone.
Iwatani is Japan’s largest domestic supplier of green hydrogen and is looking to Australia tap into its large opportunities for green hydrogen production. It will form a consortium with Stanwell to undertake a study into the production and liquefaction of green hydrogen in Queensland, with the ultimate aim of importing it into Japan.
Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the deal was a landmark partnership for the emerging green hydrogen industry in Queensland.
“If we can position Queensland as a key exporter of this resource, Queensland will be at the forefront of the renewable energy revolution,” Palaszczuk said. “To do that, we must partner with Japanese energy suppliers – and when it comes to hydrogen, they don’t come any larger than Iwatani.
“Hydrogen is the future. We’re investing in this sector because we know the great potential this industry has to drive Queensland’s economic recovery in years to come.”
In a separate statement, Iwatani said that it was looking to develop plans for the production of green hydrogen, using supplies of wind and solar electricity, and was already examining ways to include the liquefication of hydrogen which would enable the zero-emissions fuel to be exported overseas.
Iwatani controls around 70 per cent of Japan’s domestic hydrogen market but said that it would need to look offshore to secure larger supplies of low-cost green hydrogen and sees Queensland as a viable location to establish a production base. Iwatani has already secured a number of partnerships with vehicle manufacturers, including Japan’s largest car manufacturer Toyota, to establish a network of hydrogen refuelling stations.
The deal is the latest in a series of major partnerships between Australia and Japan on green hydrogen, following Mitsubishi Heavy Industries securing a stake in the South Australian based green hydrogen and ammonia project developer, H2U.
Origin Energy has also eyed plans to build a 300MW electrolyser in Townsville, in partnership with Japan’s Kawasaki Heavy Industries, that would have the ability to produce as much as 36,000 tonnes of green hydrogen a year, which would also be destined for export markets.
Following the recent re-election of the Palaszczuk government, Mick de Brenni was appointed as Australia’s first dedicated minister for hydrogen, who said that he had been tasked with developing Queensland’s potential as a green hydrogen export hub.
“The Premier has given me a mandate to do everything we can to grow this industry, and put Queensland workers front and centre in this,” de Brenni said. “We’ll continue to partner with the world’s leading energy companies, including our own, to develop this exciting new industry in Queensland.”
Gladstone has emerged as an attractive location for hydrogen export facilities, with the potential to tap into Queensland’s significant wind and solar resources, while also leveraging the region’s established gas export operations and facilities.
Gladstone is already set to host a $4.2 million hydrogen production facility, which will see Australian Gas Networks trial the blending of zero-emission hydrogen gas into the mains gas network.
Stanwell said that through the partnership it would work with Iwatani to progress plans for the establishment of a hydrogen export terminal in Gladstone, with the aim of preparing a bankable feasibility study and to commence early engineering design works for such a facility.
“Demand for imported green hydrogen is particularly strong in Japan, where government policies and action by major companies is driving hydrogen uptake,” Stanwell Corporation CEO Richard Van Breda said. “The region has high-quality renewable energy resources, available land and water, port infrastructure, and is in close proximity to key export markets.”
“While our concept study showed there is still a way to go for hydrogen to be commercial, collaborating with key partners such as Iwatani will help to drive down the cost of hydrogen technologies, and support the development of the industry.”
Japan has set ambitious targets for ramping up the use of hydrogen, particularly in the transport sector, with several Japanese automotive manufacturers working on the development of hydrogen-fuelled passenger and commercial vehicles.
Japan is set to use the forthcoming Olympics to show off the country’s progress on hydrogen technologies, including the use of hydrogen-fuelled vehicles to deliver most of the event’s transport services, as well as fuelling the Olympic torch with hydrogen during its relay across several parts of Japan.