A “world first” super-hybrid green hydrogen project valued at up to $5.5 billion and combining massive wind and pumped hydro facilities and hydrogen technologies has been unveiled for central Queensland.
The Flavian super hybrid project is being proposed by Sunshine Hydro and Energy Estate and would potentially include 1.8GW of new wind generation and 600MW of pumped hydro with 18 hours of storage.
Together, these technologies would be able to provide a minimum “firm” 24/7 hour power of at least 220MW, and also provide excess power to the grid and power the various hydrogen technologies proposed as part of the project.
This would include 300MW of hydrogen electrolysers, 50MW of liquefaction, and a 50MW hydrogen fuel cell, and the ability to produce 65 tonnes of green hydrogen a day. Hydrogen transport and industry would be some of the end users.
The Flavian project would be located within the proposed Central Queensland Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) in the Gladstone-Bundaberg area, and could begin generating clean energy and producing green hydrogen by 2028 if it goes ahead.
It is one of three potential super-hybrid projects that the promoters say could generate a minimum of 660MW of firm green energy, equivalent to over half of the current output of the Gladstone coal-fired power station.
The venture seeks to take advantage of the energy management system and “close loop” hydro technology of Sunshine.
This in turn would help facilitate Energy Estate’s grand multi-gigawatt scale plans for wind in the central Queensland region, and tap into the emerging demand for green hydrogen technologies.
“Our goal at Energy Estate is to build upon the [Central Queensland (CQ)] region’s natural advantages so it continues to be Australia’s energy capital for generations to come,” said Simon Currie, a director of Sunshine Hydro and co-founder of Energy Estate.
“Superhybrids in the CQ region will enhance energy security and water security. Sunshine Hydro is leveraging software conceived and built here in Queensland to create new industries and support existing industrial users such as the aluminium smelter and alumina refineries.”
As with many of these massive renewable energy and green hydrogen production projects, the concept is in its very early development phase.
A final investment decision (FID) to be made in 2025, which would then be followed immediately by construction, with commissioning destined for 2028.
“Our unique green hydropower system will provide highly reliable renewable energy to power the equivalent of 600,000 homes to ‘keep the lights on’ while generating 500 new jobs in the green economy,” said Michael Myer, Sunshine Hydro’s chair.
“We will apply our innovative closed loop hydropower model, which selects of a clever mix of energy inputs, outputs, and storage, which we call a superhybrid, to generate reliable green power and green hydrogen.
Joshua S. Hill is a Melbourne-based journalist who has been writing about climate change, clean technology, and electric vehicles for over 15 years. He has been reporting on electric vehicles and clean technologies for Renew Economy and The Driven since 2012. His preferred mode of transport is his feet.