Japan-Australia collaboration on HESC Project highlighted in Ministerial Meeting

The Hon Dan Tehan MP and Dr Eiichi Harada
From left to right: Mr Yasuhiro Nakajima, Dr Eiichi Harada and Dr Motohiko Nishimura.

The HESC Project has again been emphasised as a key example of cooperation between Japan and Australia during a recent meeting between the Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, the Hon Dan Tehan MP, and the Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, HE Mr Kajiyama Hiroshi. The pair met in Tokyo on 15 July 2021 and were joined virtually by the Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, the Hon Angus Taylor MP, to discuss the progress of initiatives which will drive the transition to net zero emissions and achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.

The HESC Project featured prominently in these discussions and was referenced in their joint statement that agreed to continue prioritising initiatives on clean hydrogen and carbon capture and storage, ahead of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP26. The Ministers reiterated the view that a technology-led response is critical to reducing greenhouse gas emissions while also ensuring economic growth.

The HESC Project Partners appreciate the ongoing support from the Australian and Japanese Governments, which is key to successful implementation of the HESC Project. On the sidelines of this meeting, we were honoured to welcome Minister Tehan to the HESC’s liquefied hydrogen terminal in Kobe, ‘Hy touch Kobe’, along with Her Excellency Ms Jan Adams AO, PSM, Australia’s Ambassador to Japan. The pair were given a tour of the site and the world’s first liquefied hydrogen carrier, the Suiso Frontier.

HESC supports those affected by Gippsland floods

HESC Project Partners today announced the project would contribute $5000 to the Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund (GERF) to provide immediate financial assistance to flood affected Gippsland communities.

HESC Project Partner and Non-Executive Director of J-Power Latrobe Valley, Jeremy Stone, said it was important for the project to support the community it operates in.

“We are proud to be part of the Gippsland community – many members of our team call the Latrobe Valley home, so it saddened us to see the devastation caused by the floods earlier this month,” he said.

“Over the years, the people in this region have proven their resilience and commitment to supporting each other. We are honoured to play our part in this, especially through donating to GERF and the fantastic work it does.”

The GERF has so far distributed $133,000 to 55 eligible recipients across Gippsland, including residents from Latrobe, Wellington, Baw Baw and South Gippsland.

Update: At the closure of the appeal, GERF raised and distributed $627,000 to 268 families across five impacted municipalities, which means it is the organisation’s largest flood-related fundraising event in its history.

Meet The Finance Manager For Hydrogen Engineering Australia 

Haruki Sugiyama moved to Australia in 2019 to take on the role of Finance Manager for Hydrogen Engineering Australia (HEA).

He was motivated to move overseas and work on a future-focused business, like the Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC) Project.

He studied accounting and economics at a university in Japan, before working at a large accounting firm for 7 years. Haruki says experience in accounting, tax, and communication is key to managing the finances for HEA as part of the HESC Project.

Hydrogen Engineering Australia (HEA) Finance Manager, Haruki Sugiyama.

“A significant part of my role is communicating with all the HESC Project Partners and managing the collective budget for this project,” Haruki said.

With experience working on many accounting and tax-related projects in his career, he is well-placed to manage project financials.

When asked what the greatest challenge working on the HESC Project is, Haruki said, “HESC is a world-first project that is creating a hydrogen supply chain from Australia to Japan. Sometimes we face unexpected issues, but the most rewarding part of my role is working with and receiving the support of HESC Project Partners to overcome these unexpected challenges.”

Having lived in Melbourne for the past two years, Haruki shares how different his life in Australia is compared to living in Japan.  

“I enjoy not worrying about earthquakes and squishing into unbelievably packed trains,” he said.

“I also enjoy going for drives with my wife in Victoria and discovering new places we haven’t visited before. Australians are really friendly and have really good wine.”

Haruki looks forward to working on the HESC Project as it works towards commercialisation over the coming years.

HESC Working With Hastings Country Fire Authority

Fourteen members of the Hastings Country Fire Authority (CFA) toured Australia’s first and only hydrogen liquefaction, storage, and loading facility at the Port of Hastings in April.   

Hastings Country Fire Authority members touring the HESC liquefaction, storage, and loading facility.

For each of the local Fire Fighters, it was their first tour of a hydrogen facility.

Hirofumi Kawazoe, General Manager of Hydrogen Engineering Australia led the tour and said the group was keen to see demonstrations of the on-site fire-fighting equipment and deluge system (a fire sprinkler system). It sprays water on the liquid hydrogen (LH2) storage container and hydrogen gas (GH2) trailer.

Mike Willmott, second Lieutenant of the Hastings Fire Brigade said, “Following the Site Tour of the Hydrogen Liquification Plant, all firefighters were impressed with the level of safety and the amazing technology that was being employed.”   

“The Brigade would like to sincerely thank Mr. Hiro for taking the time to allow us to tour the facility.  I know that after the visit and from the talk amongst the firefighters back at the station, there would be more members who were not able to attend the evening, who would benefit from a visit.”

“I really enjoyed answering questions and giving the Fire Fighters a tour of the HESC site. There was great interest in our operations,” Mr. Kawazoe said.

At the engineering stage for the liquefaction plant, HESC Project Partner, Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI), and Iwatani Corporation (Iwatani) undertook various risk assessments to manage fire hazards at the liquefaction plant, including Hazard Operability and Hazard Identification assessments.

The plant has many safety devices such as sprinkler systems, hydrogen detectors, fire and explosion-proof equipment, and more.

Furthermore, the plant has been built at a far enough range from any bushland.

KHI has previously worked with the Hastings CFA by seeking and adopting feedback on its Fire Safety Study for the site. KHI has also worked with Coregas, which brings strong expertise in health, safety and environmental safety from managing hydrogen facilities around Australia.

The HESC Project continues to work with emergency service organizations in Hastings and Latrobe Valley to ensure safe operations.

HESC Connects With Morwell, Hastings, and Traralgon Locals

In April and May, HESC held four community drop-in sessions in Morwell, Hastings, and Traralgon — speaking with dozens of people visiting to speak with project partner representatives.

After a year of holding meetings via Zoom, it was fantastic to meet several people face to face – from environmental group members to university students and local business owners.

Frequently asked questions from the drop-in sessions that arose include:

HESC Community Drop-in Session in Hastings

HESC looks forward to ongoing engagement with many more people from the community.

Keep an eye on this newsletter for future opportunities to ask questions and meet with HESC partners.

HESC A Topic Of Discussion For Embassy Dinner Guests

On Monday, the 24th of May, His Excellency Japanese Ambassador Shingo Yamagami hosted HESC Project Partner representatives for dinner at the Embassy of Japan in Canberra.

Also joining the dinner was The Honourable Angus Taylor MP, Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, and Dr. Alan Finkel AO, Special Adviser to the Australian Government on Low Emissions Technology.

The group discussed various topics of interest including both countries’ commitments to creating a clean hydrogen economy, promising global hydrogen demand projections, the importance of CCS technology for early commercialisation, and, of course, the progress and key role of the HESC Project in the hydrogen partnership between Australia and Japan.

HESC Project Partners are grateful for the support of the Japanese and Australian Governments and were honored to have been invited to share an evening with such distinguished guests.

They look forward to continuing these strong relationships.

From left to right, Tsuyoshi Terada (J-Power Australia), Yoshizaku Ishikawa (Sumitomo Australia), Shinichi Sakuno (JPLV), Alan Finkel, His Excellency Shingo Yamagami, The Honourable Angus Taylor, Hirofumi Kawazoe (HEA), Shinichi Kobayashi (Marubeni Australia), Shinichi Hiroi (Iwatani).

Hydrogen From Fossil Fuels With CCS Key To Net-zero

In April, the international think tank the Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute (GCCSI) released a report on clean hydrogen produced from fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage (CCS) and the role it can play in rapidly reducing global CO2 emissions.

The report looks at: the emissions abatement opportunity clean hydrogen produced from fossil fuels with CCS provides; cost drivers for hydrogen produced from fossil fuels compared to renewable hydrogen; and policy recommendations to drive investment in clean hydrogen production.

The emissions abatement opportunity clean hydrogen produced from fossil fuels with CCS provides

For clean hydrogen to play a significant role in achieving climate targets, the report says hydrogen production needs to ramp up from less than two million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) to over 500Mtpa in less than 30 years.

If this target is met, it could deliver a 6 billion tonne CO2 reduction from 2050 onwards.

Cost drivers for hydrogen produced with fossil fuels and CCS compared to renewable hydrogen

The cost of producing clean hydrogen from fossil fuels with CCS can vary significantly from place to place due to differences in fuel costs. According to 2019 data from the International Energy Agency (IEA), hydrogen made from fossil fuel with CCS costs significantly less than hydrogen from renewables – USD $1.20 –2.60/kg, compared to USD $3.20-7.70.

The GCCSI states this form of hydrogen production is most affordable as it utilizes existing available resources, infrastructure, and well-established supply chains.

Renewable hydrogen is currently more expensive to produce than clean hydrogen from fossil fuels with CCS due to capital expenditure required for electrolyzers, price of electricity and the utilization of electrolyzers.

Due to the falling cost of renewable energy and the abundant availability of solar and wind resources, Australia has the potential to produce renewable hydrogen for global export at a competitive price, in the future.

Policy Recommendations

The report concludes that ramping up the demand and scale for the production of clean hydrogen requires a strong and sustained policy.

Seven recommendations are given in the report:

  1. Define the role clean hydrogen produced from fossil fuels using CCS will play in meeting national emissions reduction targets and communicate this to industry and the public;
  2. Create a certain, long term, high value on the storage of CO2;
  3. Support the identification and appraisal of geological storage resources for CCS;
  4. Develop and promulgate specific CCS laws and regulations that include the transfer of long-term liability for geologically stored CO2 to the Government subject to acceptable performance and behaviour of the stored CO2;
  5. Identify opportunities for CCS hubs where clean hydrogen from fossil fuels with CCs can be produced and facilitate their establishment;
  6. Provide low-cost finance and/or guarantees or take equity to reduce the cost of capital for hydrogen produced from fossil fuels with CCS investments; and
  7. Where necessary, provide material capital grants to hydrogen from fossil fuels with CCS projects/hubs to initiate private investment.

In April, the Australian Government announced it will invest $275.5 million to accelerate the development of four additional clean hydrogen “hubs” in regional areas and implement a clean hydrogen certification scheme. It will also invest $263.7 million to support the development of carbon capture, use, and storage projects and “hubs”.

The GCCSI states that the urgency to reach net-zero emissions targets requires the deployment of all emissions-reducing technology.

Technologies that are mature, commercially available at a large scale, and have been used for many years, must be deployed.

The GCCSI report can be read here.

Further $500 Million Investment In Job-creating, Emission Reduction Projects

The HESC Project welcomes the Australian Government’s additional investment in low emission technologies as part of this year’s federal budget.

The investments will support Australian industry, create jobs, help cut emissions and drive investment while creating a new energy economy in Australia.

As pre-announced by the Energy Minister and the Prime Minister in April, the flagship hydrogen announcement was the establishment of a $1.2 billion Technology Co-Investment Facility.

Image Credit: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s media announcement

Of this, $639 million will back low-emissions international technology partnerships and initiatives, by co-funding research and demonstration projects and developing a carbon offset scheme in the Indo-Pacific region. Also included is $263.7 million to support the development of carbon capture technologies and hubs and $275.5 million to accelerate the development of four additional clean hydrogen export hubs and implement a clean hydrogen certification scheme.

The HESC Project Partners are contributing to shaping this certification scheme and are thrilled to see more investment in areas that are critical to commercializing a clean hydrogen economy.

Earlier in May, Energy Minister Angus Taylor also announced more than $100 million in ARENA funding towards three commercial-scale renewable hydrogen projects.

This investment will assist the industry to advance commercial, large-scale hydrogen projects and complement the HESC project’s hydrogen production capacity to the benefit of the entire nascent Australian hydrogen industry.

“It is essential we position Australia to succeed by investing now in the technologies that will support our industries into the future, with lower emissions energy that can support Australian jobs,” the Prime Minister said.

“There is a strong appetite from business for the new emissions reduction technologies that they know will be needed to run their operations and keep employing Australians and grow jobs for the future.”

The HESC Project Partners commend the Australian Government for its visionary policy decisions and look forward to continuing working together with all Government and private sector partners to boost the development of Australia’s hydrogen industry.

Suiso Frontier arriving in Australia in the second half of the 2021 Japanese fiscal year

The world-first liquefied hydrogen carrier, the Suiso Frontier, will arrive in Australia in the second half of the 2021 Japanese fiscal year — between October 2021-March 2022.

Due to the global impact of COVID-19, there have been delays in the commissioning of the ship.

The Suiso Frontier is a key component of the HESC Project’s supply chain as it will carry liquefied hydrogen produced in Australia to Japan.

The HESC Project Partners look forward to sharing further information about the arrival of the Suiso Frontier in Australia over coming months.

The Suiso Frontier. Photo courtesy of HySTRA.

HESC Community Drop-In Sessions

Courtesy of the HESC Project

The HESC Project is hosting community drop-in sessions in Gippsland and Hastings over the coming weeks. The informal drop-in sessions are open to everyone and provides an opportunity to discuss the project with the HESC team, give feedback, ask questions and raise concerns.

Join our HESC Project team at one of the following sessions:

Mid-Valley Shopping Centre
Corner of Centre Valley Road and Princes Drive, Morwell
Between Woolworths and Big W
Date: Tuesday, 27th April
Time: 1.30PM -5.30PM

Woolworths Hastings
11-23 Victoria St, Hastings VIC 3915
Date: Wednesday, 28th  April and Tuesday, 11th May
Time: 2PM-6PM

Traralgon Centre Plaza
166-188 Franklin Street Traralgon
Between Kmart and Coles
Date: Wednesday, 12th May
Time: 2.30PM-5.30PM

Japanese expert overseeing hydrogen gasification in Latrobe Valley

Masahiko Tomioka moved to Australia in June 2019, bringing his family and vast experience in hydrogen gasification technologies with him.

Masahiko Tomioka. Photo copyright of HESC.

Mr Tomioka is the Chief Engineer for J-Power Latrobe Valley (J-Power LV), which recently announced commencement of hydrogen production from its coal gasification and hydrogen refining facility in the Latrobe Valley.

“The best thing about being part of HESC is working with all the plant personnel to reach the same goal of producing hydrogen,” Mr Tomioka said.

Mr Tomioka is involved with planning and executing operations, maintenance and analysing the performance of the HESC Project’s Latrobe Valley facility.

At a Japanese university, he studied catalytic reforming methodology of petroleum, including hydrogen production and earned a Master’s Degree in Applied Chemistry.

This study set him up to take on the exciting opportunities that the emerging hydrogen economy is unlocking.

Mr Tomioka’s first job was working in environmental management of a coal power station in Japan, with J-Power. He reported on the CO2 emissions produced by the station and evaluated them against government emissions reduction targets.

“Through this work, I realised the importance of a zero-emissions future and became strongly motivated to become involved in a hydrogen production project that can achieve this goal,” he said.

In his second job, Mr Tomioka gained the knowledge and experience of coal gasification he uses today, from the J-Power Wakamatsu research institute.

His experience working at the Institute— a centre focused on coal gasification technologies, gas refining technology, carbon dioxide separation and capture facilities —Mr Tomioka was captivated by HESC and requested to be assigned to the Chief Engineer role in Australia.

Of the biggest challenge faced while working on the HESC Project, Mr Tomioka said: “Operations of the plant requires a lot of my experience and knowledge but when the Victorian coal is gasified and refined from Victorian coal to hydrogen, I feel very pleased.”

Mr Tomioka resides in Traralgon and is fascinated by the old power station and landscape on the trip to work each day.

Mr Tomioka not only finds joy in his work, but in colloquialisms used by his Australian counterparts.

“I love hearing the phrase ‘no worries’. It makes me happy every time I hear it.”

Mr Tomioka will continue working in the Latrobe Valley for the duration of the HESC Pilot Project and hopes to explore Australia’s beautiful nature and wildlife with his family in his free time.

Spotlight on Coregas Engineer Ross Renna

Coregas Engineer Ross Renna

Coregas Engineer Ross Renna brings over 30 years of experience in the industrial gases industry to the Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC) Project.

Mr Renna started working with HESC in 2019, when he set up key equipment at the Hastings and Latrobe Valley sites. He was also involved in preparation for Coregas to handle site operations at HESC’s hydrogen liquefaction facility – the first of its kind in Australia.

Now working as Transition Manager, Mr Renna still maintains oversight of each site. He

oversees the day-to-day contract and commercial requirements for the Hydrogen Liquefaction plant at Hastings, where he is based. At the same time, he provides technical support for operations.

He also brings a wealth of safety experience to the HESC Project, previously working in Major Hazard Facilities such as chemical and petrochemical plants.

No two days are the same when working on the HESC Project, but he describes his work as exciting and challenging.

“In a day, I could be working through a plant risk assessment, reviewing operational procedures for the ship transfer of the liquid hydrogen, and also working through commercial invoicing,” Mr Renna said.

Having worked for years in the gases industry, Mr Renna has heard a lot of talk about hydrogen being the fuel of the future. He shared his enthusiasm at being part of a project that brings this talk to fruition.

“For me, it’s about being involved in a very exciting project which could have a major impact in decarbonising industry and society,” he said.

“It feels like everywhere you look hydrogen is being discussed and Australia is starting to do its share in developing new hydrogen projects.  This is really exciting for the future of hydrogen, especially for Australia.”

Mr Renna shared that there is a lot of potential for people with experience working in Major Hazard Facilities to apply their skills and knowledge to the emerging hydrogen industry.

“Skills and experience from Major Hazard Facility sites, such as operational safety controls, safe work practices and risk assessment development methodologies can be transferred to projects like HESC,  and other emerging hydrogen projects in Australia.”

Reflecting on his two proudest moments so far working on the HESC Project, Mr Renna shared that one of the moments is when Coregas took operational management of the site from Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) to operate and maintain the liquefaction site at Hastings. 

“There has been a lot of great work from the Hastings team and many other Coregas team members behind the scenes as well.”

“My second proudest moment is the first-time liquid hydrogen was produced from the plant and filled into the liquid hydrogen site container.”

With the HESC Project in its pilot phase, Mr Renna shares many of the challenges he and the team from KHI and Iwatani Corporation are working to overcome. A key challenge is around transferring liquid hydrogen from the Hastings site, onto the Suiso Frontier, when it arrives.

 “At present, our focus is planning the important phase of performing the liquid hydrogen ship transfer. I believe a great working relationship has now been established with Coregas, KHI and Iwatani” he said.

Mr Renna will continue his important role while working on the HESC Project and looks forward to seeing it in a commercial phase.

About Coregas

Coregas is one of the largest hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and argon producers in Australia, has been an integral part of the HESC project. The company is providing engineering consultancy, onsite support and equipment for the gasification plant at Loy Yang in the Latrobe Valley and the Australian first liquefaction and loading facility at Port of Hastings.

Safely storing liquefied hydrogen

For HESC Project Partner, Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI), liquefied hydrogen has long been the fuel of choice for its rockets. The company’s Tanegashima Space Centre is home to Japan’s largest liquefied hydrogen storage tank.

Mr Hiroto Sato, a member of Cryogenic Storage System Department, Cryogenic Storage System Engineering Division, Plant & Infrastructure Company

A similarly designed tank has been replicated for the HESC Project and is being used to store liquefied hydrogen at the Hastings liquefaction and loading terminal and the Kobe port-side storage facility.

Hydrogen is a fuel for the future, but for many years the challenges associated with its storage saw it overlooked.

Hydrogen is a bulky gas, requiring more space for storage than conventional natural gas. To decrease storage capacity and for ease of transportation, hydrogen can be stored in liquid form. This reduces the hydrogen to 1/800 of its original size. However, when liquefied hydrogen is poured into a conventional tank, it can rapidly heat up, causing evaporation and loss.

Hiroto Sato works in KHI’s Cryogenic Storage System Engineering Department and explains how the company overcame this obstacle.

“In order to keep the hydrogen in its liquefied state, we needed a method to ensure a storage temperature of -253°C, which is extremely low,” said Mr Sato.

“Given the large mass of liquefied hydrogen, permanent cooling was not an option because of the huge running costs involved.

“This is why we designed a cooling structure similar to a colossal thermos, so to speak.”

Mr Hiroto Sato, a member of Cryogenic Storage System Department, Cryogenic Storage System Engineering Division, Plant & Infrastructure Company

Rather than cool the hydrogen, the design of the tank prevents any possible rise in temperature as soon as the liquefied hydrogen is loaded inside.

This is achieved by a double-hull. The gap between the two hulls is filled with perlite, which is used for insulation, and the resulting design creates a system that allows for effective storage.

In addition, the tank had to be designed to suppress any kind of heat conduction, minimising any surface area where thermal transfer could occur.

The results speak for themselves.

“This liquefied hydrogen tank was built in 1987 and has been in operation ever since. To date, we have found no sign of deterioration in its cold insulation performance,” Sato said.

The nature of the storage technology means that the tank can be used to store clean hydrogen from any source – including Australia.

The CarbonNet Project gets top marks from industry experts

The Noble Tom Prosser Drilling Rig off Golden Beach, Victoria.

The results are in for studies of rock core extracted from Pelican, the first CarbonNet storage site located in the Gippsland Basin.

The Pelican site has received top marks from industry experts with data proving the site has excellent geology for CO2 storage, providing a safe carbon capture and storage (CCS) solution in Gippsland.

Modelling of this site was externally verified by world-leading CCS experts from Det Norske Veritas and been reviewed by Geoscience Australia, The British Geological Survey, CSIRO and The Geological Survey of Victoria.

Results from testing align with expectations the site is large enough to store at least five million tonnes of CO2 per year for 25 years. That’s the equivalent of annual CO2 emissions from around one million petrol cars.

In thickness, distribution, and quality, all rock layers were found to be as predicted by the CarbonNet team, down to 99% accuracy.

More than 100 crew worked daily, in shifts, for eight weeks on the Noble Tom Prosser drilling rig over 2019 and 2020 to create the appraisal well and extract the core for analysis. 

In August 2020, the core was sent to be analysed in a world-class laboratory.

The CarbonNet team is now updating 3D models of the site using information from the lab. The project will also soon release a report on the jobs that could be created by CarbonNet and CCS enabled industries across Latrobe City and Wellington Shire Councils.

12.03.2021 – HESC Operations Commencement Celebration

12.03.2021 – HESC Operations Event Ribbon Cutting Ceremony.

On Friday the 12th of March, Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC) Project Partners held a celebration to mark the commencement of operations at both Victorian sites of the Pilot Project.

Over 70 guests, including the Australian, Victorian, and Japanese Governments, media, travelled to Traralgon on the sunny morning to celebrate the project milestone.

The day began with live crosses to ABC News Breakfast around the country, where Jeremy Stone, Non-Executive Director of J-Power Latrobe Valley, gave journalist Madeleine Morris a tour of the HESC gasification site and explained HESC’s hydrogen development process.

Later in the morning Jane Oakley, CEO of Committee for Gippsland, spoke to Madeleine about the region’s hydrogen future.

Throughout the event, key speeches were given by: The Hon. Angus Taylor, Minister for Energy Reduction Emissions; Mr Shingo Yamagami; Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan in Australia; The Hon. Darren Chester, Minister for Defence Personnel; Mr Tim Pallas, Treasurer of Victoria; and Dr Alan Finkel, Australian Government Hydrogen Advisor as well as other distinguished guests and project partners.

Mr Yamagami welcomed guests to the event and commented on the beauty of the day saying, “I think this weather is auspicious of things to come.”

The celebration culminated in a ribbon-cutting led by Shinichi Sakuno, Managing Director of J-Power Latrobe Valley and Hirofumi Kawazoe, General Manager of Hydrogen Engineering Australia (representatives of both Australian project sites).

Due to COVID-19, Japanese representatives were not able to join the physical event, but over 55 viewers from Japan joined via live stream.

By the end of the day, news about the HESC Project’s success had reached half a billion people, globally.

Over the coming months, operations at each of the Latrobe Valley and Hasting’s sites will continue and the pilot will yield data and insights that feed into the pathway to commercialisation.  Liquefied hydrogen will be stored in Hastings until shipments commence this year.

Major Milestone for Victoria’s World-First Hydrogen Project

Latrobe Valley, Victoria: The Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC) Pilot Project today announced the commencement of operations at both Victorian sites of its world-first integrated supply chain.

HESC Project Partners, together with the Australian, Victorian, and Japanese Governments and distinguished guests today marked both milestones at the gasification and gas refining facility in the Latrobe Valley.

The HESC Pilot is developing a complete hydrogen supply chain, creating hydrogen gas via the gasification of Latrobe Valley coal, transport to the Port of Hastings for liquefaction, and shipment to Japan.

The commencement of the Australian arm of operations, using Latrobe Valley coal to produce hydrogen, is a world first and a great leap forward for the country’s ambition to be a key player in the emerging global hydrogen economy.

The HESC Pilot is being delivered by a consortium of experienced industry partners from Japan and Australia including Kawasaki Heavy Industries, J-POWER, Iwatani Corporation, Marubeni Corporation, AGL and Sumitomo Corporation, supported by the Victorian, Australian and Japanese Governments.

Hirofumi Kawazoe, from Hydrogen Engineering Australia (Kawasaki’s subsidiary company based in Melbourne), said the progress of the HESC Pilot places Victoria and Australia at the forefront of the global energy transition to lower emissions via the fuel of the future, clean hydrogen.
“The next major HESC Pilot development will be the first shipment of hydrogen between Australia and Japan, aboard the world’s first purpose-built liquefied hydrogen carrier, the Suiso Frontier. The eyes of the world will be on Victoria, when shipments of liquefied hydrogen commence in 2021,” Mr Kawazoe said.

The HESC Pilot is proving it is possible to take Latrobe Valley coal and safely produce and transport hydrogen. It is yielding data and insights that feed into the pathway to commercialisation.

Jeremy Stone from J-POWER Latrobe Valley said the HESC Pilot has created approximately 400 jobs across the Victorian supply chain.

“A commercial-scale HESC can leverage and build local skills, potentially creating thousands of jobs. This will include long-term employment in a new clean energy industry for the people of Gippsland,” Mr Stone said.

“Latrobe Valley has a proud history powering Australia and today we celebrate the next generation of energy technology in the region.”

The Victorian and Commonwealth Governments’ CarbonNet Project is developing in parallel with HESC and is essential for the hydrogen pilot’s commercialisation. If both projects are commercialised, CO2 captured during hydrogen production would be transported and stored by CarbonNet using carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology. Rather than entering the atmosphere, CO2 emissions will be safely stored in rocks 1.5 kilometres beneath Bass Strait, similar to the way oil and gas has been trapped naturally for millions of years.

A commercial-scale HESC project could produce 225,000 tonnes of clean hydrogen annually with carbon capture and storage.

“We estimate our project could reduce CO2 emissions by 1.8 million tonnes per year, equivalent to the emissions of some 350,000 petrol cars, Mr Stone said.

The Victorian Government says the project has the potential to provide clean hydrogen with domestic use-cases, as well as kick-start the emergence of a new, global export industry with huge local economic benefits.
The HESC Project will also help develop the infrastructure and highly skilled workers that are crucial ingredients for the emergence of an Australian hydrogen industry.

The HESC consortium thanked its staff and contractors in both the Latrobe Valley and Hastings for their work to date, including overcoming the many challenges COVID-19 presents.

“Without the support of the local communities, the Victorian, Australian and Japanese Governments, this project would not be possible,” Mr Kawazoe said.

HESC project milestone: Hydrogen gas now produced at Latrobe Valley site

HESC Project Partners are proud to announce that hydrogen gas is successfully being produced from Latrobe Valley coal as part of the world-first Hydrogen Supply Chain Pilot Project

This is a crucial project milestone as it means hydrogen gas can soon be transported by truck to an Australian first liquefaction and loading terminal at the Port of Hastings, where the hydrogen gas will be liquefied and stored.  Following this process, the liquid hydrogen will be transported by a specially designed hydrogen marine carrier ship to Kobe, Japan.

This milestone is a step closer to achieving a global energy transition to lower emissions via using hydrogen as a fuel — the fuel of the future.

The pilot project is delivered by experienced Japanese and Australian industry partners and supported by the Victorian, Australian and Japanese Governments.

Coregas committed to supporting initiatives that drive innovation for clean energy

Coregas, one of the largest hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and argon producers in Australia, has been an integral part of the HESC project. The company is providing engineering consultancy, onsite support and equipment for the gasification plant at Loy Yang in the Latrobe Valley and the Australian first liquefaction and loading facility at Port of Hastings.

Paul Vandenbrink – Coregas Site Manager in Hastings. Copyright of HESC.

Paul Vandenbrink has a wealth of experience in the steel production and gas industries. In his new venture, working as a Site Manager in Hastings, he says, “It’s fantastic to see growing momentum for a hydrogen industry in Victoria and Australia. I’m excited to be part of this world-first project”.

Mr Vandenbrink relocated from NSW six months ago and has settled in Mornington, which is close to Hastings.

“Coregas is proud to be involved in such an environmentally significant project like HESC and it’s exciting to step forward in the hydrogen energy industry as it is a demonstration of potential for a whole new export market and pathway to renewable energies” he said.

Coregas has been involved in the FEED (Front End Engineering Design) for the liquefaction plant in Hastings and has provided support for the detailed design of the plant. Further to this, Coregas is providing all the utility and specialised calibration gases to both facilities, the hydrogen compressor for the gasification plant and transportation services to move both liquefied and gaseous hydrogen.

A Coregas team of 12 is providing experienced engineering and maintenance support to run and maintain the liquefaction and loading facility in Hastings. The team belong to a company experienced at working with hydrogen – running the largest hydrogen merchant plant at Bluescope Steel’s Port Kembla steelworks.

Using this experience, Coregas’s expertise in the production and handling of hydrogen will be vital in the safe and efficient operation of the Hastings plant, as well as assisting with the loading of the world’s first liquid hydrogen carrier ship, the Suiso Frontier, when it arrives at the Port of Hastings this year. Coregas will also provide technical support at the Latrobe Valley site once operational.

When asked about the most interesting piece of equipment being used at the Hastings site, Paul spoke of the hydrogen liquefier, which has high-speed turbines, heat exchange and compression and expansion to create extremely cold temperatures of -253 degrees Celsius.

Working on the project during COVID-19 hasn’t been without its challenges. COVID restrictions meant a 25% restriction of the number of people on-site, work and travel permits needing approval and deep cleans being required at the sites. Furthermore, the lack of toilet paper, hand sanitiser and masks presented more of a challenge. Nonetheless, Coregas implemented a COVIDSafe plan and successfully maintained operations during the tough period.

When asked about working with HESC project partner Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI), Mr Vandenbrink said, “It has been an honour to work with the reputable team at KHI. We have been able to learn a lot about each other’s culture and together we have collaborated to deliver this fantastic initiative”.

Note on the hydrogen liquefier: The hydrogen liquefier works by pressurised hydrogen gas being fed into a vacuum-insulated cold box and getting pre-cooled with liquid nitrogen. Pre-cooled hydrogen gas is heat-exchanged with liquefied helium, which is produced from helium refrigeration cycle, then it is turned into liquid and transferred to an LH2 container.

CCS Capacity increased 33% in 2020

CCS Storage Overview. Copyright of Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute.

Global participation in carbon capture and storage (CCS) is increasing in the effort to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, according to a new report from the Global CCS Institute (GCCSI), the Global Status of CCS Report 2020.

The report found the total capacity of CCS facilities operating and under development has grown by 33% worldwide over the last year alone. There are a total of 65 commercial CCS facilities in various stages of development globally.

However, the report warned, “deployment of the technology is not happening quick enough to reach 2050 climate goals. CCS facilities will need to increase by more than a hundredfold by mid-century, as but one part of how the world will reach carbon neutrality.”

The report highlighted that CCS can enable the production of low-carbon hydrogen at scale, particularly in regions where large amounts of affordable renewable electricity from hydrogen-producing electrolysis is not available and fossil fuel prices are low.

When it comes to this type of hydrogen production, Victoria has a significant competitive advantage due to its abundant, world-class coal resources and world-leading potential for CCS (via the CarbonNet Project), all within the Gippsland region.

ASEAN nations partner on CCUS technologies

NikkeiAsia is reporting that Japan, Australia, the United States of America and 10 members of ASEAN are partnering to commercialise technology making carbon capture utilisation and storage (CCUS) possible.

Carbon captured can be used as a feedstock to create new materials such as CO2 infused concrete and various industrial chemicals, creating new ways of storing carbon dioxide.

The ASEAN partnership will create ways to bury and reuse carbon dioxide in Southeast Asia to reduce CO2 emissions produced from energy infrastructure and industries.

The partnership is to be initiated in early 2021, after first being discussed among the member countries at East Asia Summit’s Energy Ministerial meeting in November.

CarbonNet Project update

The CO2CRC is CarbonNet’s lead research partner. Read more about how the CarbonNet Project provides a suitable CCS solution for a commercial HESC Project.

The CO2CRC’s Otway Storage Demonstration Project is getting ready to commence its Stage 3 CO2 injection activities. From November 2020 to April 2021, a total of 15,000 tonnes of CO2-rich gas will be injected into the subsurface beneath the Otway National Research Facility.

According to CarbonNet, successful application of these monitoring techniques is likely to translate into lower costs, higher quality of data and a smaller environmental footprint for CCS.

Gippsland owned company O&M putting locals on the job with HESC

100% Gippsland owned company O&M has been working with J-Power Latrobe Valley to put 70 locals on the job during the construction phase of the Latrobe Valley coal gasification and refining facility.

Established in 2013 and based in Morwell, the company employs over 150 people from the Gippsland region, which sometimes expands to 250 people when undertaking large projects and plant outages.

The company specialises in delivering electrical and maintenance services to the power, water, oil, gas and mining industries. The hydrogen industry has been an exciting new venture for the team.

O&M has been responsible for the full electrical and instrumentation scope for the construction of the Latrobe Valley site, working as an integral part of the plant team, including collaborating with Japanese partners from J-Power, engineering design consultants and the mechanical and structural builders of the site.

O&M has a pool of personnel that are qualified for working in the hydrogen industry. Their team have extensive cross-industry experience in large industrial environments such as the power, mining, water, oil and gas, pulp and paper sectors and in roles such as trades, plant operators, maintenance, supervisors and managers.

Those with experience from the mining industry are well versed in handling, conveying and processing large volumes of raw materials and operating, controlling and maintaining of the associated plant systems.

“We have up to eight staff that have worked on the systems, process and documentation development in the period leading up to operations and assisted with plant commissioning and process refinement. This team will transition to full-time Operators and Maintainers for the full operating phase of the pilot project” said Ian Green, O&M Business Manager.

The company is especially proud of the support and engagement they offer through its apprentice program, with six apprentices currently working for them. Two O&M HESC Project apprentices, Jay Murphy and Ashley Withell, shared their enthusiasm for working on the pilot project and the skills it is giving them to work in a new industry.

O&M staff enjoy working on the HESC Project as they are playing an integral part in emerging clean energy technology that will change the energy industry and lead to positive change in managing climate change.

The company sees great potential for the Gippsland region to become a new hydrogen energy hub and is confident the project will demonstrate the ability of the Gippsland region to support such projects through the provision of infrastructure, a technical and skilled workforce along with ready access to services and utilities.

Mr Green said, “The rich resources in the region can support new energy industries and the availability of locations for large project sites close to infrastructure, services and utilities required also makes the regional an optimal place for emerging industries.”

O&M look forward to the HESC Pilot Project succeeding and seeing what the commercial-scale opportunities will bring to Gippsland, including a large boost to employment and the local economy.

O&M workman on site. Copyright of HESC.