The fuel for the future in safe hands

Life-long Latrobe Valley local Deb Decarli has taken on a unique job – overseeing the safe production of hydrogen for a world-first project, in her own hometown.  

HESC Health, Safety and Environmental Specialist Deb Decarli (pictured right).

“Gippslanders— particularly people from the Latrobe Valley — are really invested in making the region a great place to be. Life revolves around how we can help and support each other.”

Deb Decarli is a big part of the Latrobe Valley community. As Secretary of the Yallourn North Football and Netball club, she’s on a mission to ensure everyone has an opportunity to participate and belong.

What fewer people may know is that she’s a key team member in the world-first Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC) Project, overseeing the safe gasification of Latrobe Valley coal.

Working on the HESC Project is more than a job for Deb – it’s a sign of opportunity and growth for the region she’s called home for over 50 years, even though hydrogen as an energy source can sound like a foreign concept to some.

“It’s an exciting new industry our region is exploring. I’m passionate about talking with people I know and explaining the vigorous safety measures we have in place. A lot of people don’t realise that many hydrogen properties are safer to handle than other commonly used fuels today.”

In her role as Health, Safety and Environment Specialist at the HESC gasification facility at Loy Yang, Deb ensures staff are safe and the process is being handled with constant care and precision.

“I take an active approach to my working days. An average day sees me moving throughout the plant, staying on top of processes and making sure everyone is working safely. I may also do some targeted inspections or audits in the field,” she said.

“The rest of my time is spent consulting with the employees and checking their safety perceptions, evaluating what can be done to improve safety, delivering toolbox preparation sessions, giving inductions to anyone coming onsite, conducting other safety training and on the very odd occasion, completing incident reports and investigations.”

Deb has enjoyed sharing her knowledge of the HESC Project with family and friends and sharing the technology behind creating clean hydrogen through carbon, capture and storage (CCS) from Latrobe Valley coal.

“They are all interested to see if this will result in a larger project that will create jobs in the Latrobe Valley, which is important to a lot of people,” she said.

“If the current pilot phase extends into a larger operation, the region will benefit greatly. Other industries including CCS can be created and its possible the by-products can be used in other applications – creating more sustainable and diverse industries.”

She hopes to see the economy continue to grow and see communities supporting each other and working together to create new opportunities for generations to follow.

“I love that we are doing work that one day will help create a clean energy source for all Victorians to use.”

Fifteen years of carbon capture and storage (CCS) success in Victoria

Readers may be surprised to learn that one of the world’s largest CCS research projects has been safely and successfully operating in Victoria for the past 15 years.

While carbon capture and storage (CCS) might seem like a new technology in the conversation around the growing hydrogen economy, few Australians may know that one of the world’s largest CCS projects has been taking place in their own backyard since 2007.

As part of CO2CRC’s Otway International Test Centre (OITC), over 95,000 tonnes of CO2 have successfully been injected and securely stored at a CCS site in Nirranda South, Victoria since 2007.

As a supporting organisation of the Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC) Project, the Otway Research Facility is a world-leading project to demonstrate that CCS is a technically and environmentally safe way to make deep cuts into global greenhouse gas emissions.

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” Jeremy Stone, Non-Executive Director of J-Power Latrobe Valley said.

CO2CRC uses the research facility to understand the impact of CCS solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context and has previously shared findings with CSIRO, HESC, CarbonNet and other project partners.

The findings from the Otway Research Facility are shared with political leaders, government officials, regulators and communities to help explain and better understand CCS in action.

The HESC Project Partners are looking forward to the findings from the latest Stage 3 Project that has been completed and which is developing next generation subsurface CO2 monitoring and verification technologies for application in commercial carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects.

Engineering for a better future

J-Power Latrobe Valley engineer, Kanako Nagayama is driven to use her engineering skills and expertise to create a cleaner future for younger generations.

J-Power Engineer Kanako Nagayama. Photo courtesy of J-Power Latrobe Valley.

Kanako (Kana) Nagayama is driven to use her engineering skills and expertise to create a cleaner future for younger generations.

Working as a Process Engineer on the Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC) Project, Kana is very much looking forward to seeing the fuel of the future being used as a clean energy source around the world.

Working for J-Power Latrobe Valley, Kana has been enjoying the challenge of being part of the team responsible for turning Latrobe Valley coal into hydrogen gas and ensuring it is pure enough for liquefaction.

“The most interesting part of working on this project has been working with the team to find the most efficient way to gasify Latrobe Valley brown coal. We’ve been doing experiments with different seams to make the maximum amount of pure hydrogen, with minimum energy. It’s challenging work, but we’ve made really exciting progress.”

With over five years’ experience working in power plant design throughout the world, Kana is part of the operations data analysis team on the HESC Project.

As part of her day-to-day work, Kana reviews operations data from gasification and gas refining activity to determine the efficiency of the Latrobe Valley plant. She is also in charge of recording the amounts of hydrogen that are loaded into the tube-trailer during every operation.

“I enjoy generating ideas for improving the plan through every operation we run,” Kana says.

When asked what about the future of hydrogen excites her most, Kana shared that the rapid development of clean hydrogen that has potential to be a future fuel source for cars, houses and industry without emissions being created.

“I’m really happy to see pure hydrogen being produced and loaded onto the tube-trailer in front of me.”

Kana enjoys living in Australia and experiencing the beautiful countryside, meeting friendly people and playing tennis as often as she can. She is a regular at Traralgon Tennis Club, playing every weekend with her friends and colleagues.

Kana forward to working with J-Power Latrobe Valley on HESC moving towards commercialisation over coming years and contributing to the development of technology for the benefit of society.

Spotlight on Hirofumi Kawazoe, General Manager of Hydrogen Engineering Australia

The Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC) Project’s own Hirofumi Kawazoe was put in the spotlight in the June edition of Energy Source and Distribution Magazine.

Being titled ‘Australia’s globally renowned hydrogen legend,’ the General Manager of Hydrogen Engineering Australia gave readers an in-depth look at the HESC Project.

Hirofumi shared, “Nobody in Australia was talking about hydrogen five years ago. Now lots of players are seeking opportunities for hydrogen business.”

The article does a deep dive into the technology and processes behind producing clean hydrogen from Latrobe Valley coal that will be shipped to Japan by the first liquefied hydrogen carrier —the Suiso Frontier — between October 2021 and March 2022.

In the article, Hirofumi shared how the liquefaction facility in Hastings he oversees runs with hydrogen gas going through several stages of heat exchangers, with liquefied nitrogen and cryogenic helium gas (as a refrigerant) producing cold energy to cool down the gas and produce liquefied hydrogen (LH2) at -235 degrees centigrade.

“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,” Hirofumi said.  

In the commercial phase, the hydrogen produced by HESC will be used mainly for power generation and mobility such as hydrogen cars in Japan. However, some of the hydrogen could also be used domestically in Australia—Hirofumi says HESC is exploring a range of potential customers.

While hydrogen production is relatively new in Australia, Hirofumi says he looks forward to seeing people from the gas and mining industries applying their skills to this new energy source. 

“I believe that most electricity will be generated from hydrogen in near future,” he told the magazine.

“A commercial HESC Project has the potential to create thousands of sustainable jobs in Victoria and it would create a thriving hydrogen export industry with huge local economic benefits.”

Latrobe Valley hydrogen fuelling Toyota in Japanese endurance race series

Image credit: Toyota Corporation.  A vehicle equipped with a hydrogen-powered engine.

September 18, 2021

Hydrogen produced in the Latrobe Valley has been used to fuel Toyota’s hydrogen-powered Corolla in the 2021 Super Taikyu Series in Japan.

The hydrogen was supplied by the Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC) Project Partners, and fuelled Toyota Corporation’s car in the race known as the ‘Top Endurance Race Series in Asia’.

The car raced for over five hours with its performance on par with a gasoline-fuelled vehicle. This is the third time Toyota has raced with the hydrogen-fuelled engine, but the first time it has used Latrobe Valley hydrogen, which brought with it several improvements, Toyota reported.

The car’s outstanding performance demonstrates the quality and energy that clean hydrogen produced from the Latrobe Valley can provide not only for racing cars but for transport, globally.

Jeremy Stone, Non-Executive Director of J-Power Latrobe Valley said, “We’re really pleased we can produce Latrobe Valley hydrogen to the highest purity standards, which is required for fuelling racing cars which produce zero emissions.”

“It’s fantastic to collaborate with all the HESC Project Partners and see the fuel of the future being adopted by global auto businesses such as Toyota.”

HESC Project Partners Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Iwatani Corporation, and Electric Power Development Co. (J-Power) delivered the hydrogen especially for the endurance race, flying it to Japan before it was transported to the race circuit by a fuel cell electric truck.

At a press conference, Toyota shared its hopes to work with the HESC Project not only in next year’s race, but also into the future.

Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC) Project welcomes expanded ARENA remit

The Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC) Project welcomes recent reforms to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) that will greatly accelerate Australia’s ability to become a leading player in the global hydrogen revolution.

ARENA’s expanded remit will allow it to support a broader range of technologies including the clean hydrogen and carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies outlined in Australia’s National Hydrogen Strategy and First Low Emissions Technology Statement.

The HESC Project is a world-first initiative that is using these technologies to demonstrate that hydrogen produced through gasification of coal in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley with CCS technologies can be safely and cost-effectively produced and exported to Japan.

ARENA’s expanded role will spur increased investment in Australian hydrogen infrastructure that will underpin renewable hydrogen initiatives and the HESC Project alike.   

The growth of Australia’s hydrogen industry has been exponential since the launch of the Australian portion of the HESC Pilot in 2018. These latest reforms to ARENA signal an exciting next step that will further support the creation of future-proofed Australian jobs and boost international decarbonisation efforts under the Paris Agreement.

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:

Morwell
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


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


Traralgon
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.