Piloting new opportunities with a Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain

AGL recently hosted the launch of a world-first pilot project to convert brown coal to liquid hydrogen.

This project includes the Australian, Japanese and Victorian governments along with a consortium of companies participating in an innovative supply chain pilot that will deliver liquefied hydrogen from the Latrobe Valley to Japan.

What does the pilot involve?

The Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC) project will convert brown coal from the AGL Loy Yang mine into hydrogen at an adjacent site and then transport the gas by road to a liquefication terminal at the Port of Hastings. It will then be shipped to Japan for use predominantly in the transport industry.

What is AGL’s involvement?

AGL will provide in-kind support for the HESC pilot project including the land for the plant and up to 160 tonnes of brown coal.

In addition to this project, AGL has established a Hydrogen working group and is investigating renewable to hydrogen energy solutions as well.

What impact will this project have on carbon emissions?

Mitigating the carbon emissions from the gasification process is critical to ensuring HESC’s long-term capacity to deliver sustainable energy.

During commercial operations, HESC will require a Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) solution, such as CarbonNet, a joint initiative between the Australian and Victorian Governments to establish a commercial-scale CCS network. CCS is a process where CO2 is captured and stored securely deep underground or under the bed of the sea.

CCS will not be a feature of the pilot phase, due to the low volumes of CO2 involved, equivalent to the annual emissions of about 20 cars. Carbon offsets will be used to mitigate emissions for the pilot phase.

If the pilot is successful, CCS will be an essential component of the commercial phase.

What are some of the expected benefits of the project?

If the pilot is successful, a new Australian hydrogen export industry has the potential to create significant employment opportunities, boost Australia’s economy, and provide access to a future clean energy source for Australian domestic energy use.

The HESC Project has the potential to create a sustainable solution for the use of brown coal deposits (and other renewable sources moving forward) that does not contribute to carbon emissions. Through this project, Australia could be the first to create a commercially viable global supply chain for hydrogen, which is in growing demand globally.

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