Verdant Earth Technologies, a small energy company chaired by former NT chief minister Adam Giles with big plans for exporting green hydrogen, is in talks with Darwin Port to create a green hydrogen export hub in the Top End.
Verdant Earth – previously known as Hunter Energy – recently acquired Monarch Hydrogen, which is in the process of building a $43 million hydrogen plant near Newcastle that it hopes will produce 6.5 tons a day of compressed hydrogen by next year.
Verdant’s only other operation is also a work in progress – a plan to convert the old coal-fired Redbank Power Station in NSW’s Hunter region into 150 megawatt biomass plant. But the company says it has bigger plans for a 50MW battery facility, a 40MW solar farm and a 70MW gas plant. It also says it plans to “scale up” its hydrogen manufacturing.
The company has been talking to Darwin Port about turning Darwin into a hydrogen export hub. RenewEconomy contacted both Verdant and Port Darwin, but neither had responded at time of publication so the details of the talks remain limited.
But the company’s seemingly grand plans are lent some plausibility by the fact it lists its chairman-elect as Adam Giles, the former the chief minister of the Northern Territory – a man who you would assume has some significant sway in Darwin.
Verdant CEO Richard Poole said: “Hydrogen continues to attract greater support from the Australian Government, with the recent federal budget commitment of a further $1.6 billion to fund priority technologies, including clean hydrogen.”
“Verdant Earth Technologies is working to help establish Australia as a major green hydrogen producer and exporter.
“A strategic alliance with Darwin Port would pave the way for the establishment of a green hydrogen hub at Australia’s nearest port to Asia and the country’s ‘northern gateway’ for Australasian trade.”
James Fernyhough is a reporter at RenewEconomy. He has worked at The Australian Financial Review and the Financial Times, and is interested in all things related to climate change and the transition to a low-carbon economy.