The completed Latrobe Valley site

Each element in the Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC) Pilot supply chain is nearing operations stage. Site teams in Japan and Australia are working to finalise construction and carry out the all-important commissioning work, to ensure all systems and components are in perfect working order.

At the Latrobe Valley gasification and gas refining facility, construction concluded in early October and commissioning is well underway. This involves a range of activities, including filling and testing lines and tanks and confirming the electronics and control systems.

According to Non-Executive Director of J-POWER LV, Jeremy Stone, “as these important tests are almost complete, we expect the production of hydrogen gas from coal in the last quarter of 2020.”  

150 kilometres away in Hastings, the on-site construction office has been removed and plant assessments are also in progress.

A Helium Buffer Tank which will be used for liquefaction processing in Hastings

The main components of the hydrogen liquefier are being tested; the cold box with heat exchangers, the helium compressor, and the helium expansion turbine.

General Manager for Hydrogen Engineering Australia, Hirofumi Kawazoe explained the operation of these components.

“Pressurised hydrogen gas will be fed into the vacuum insulated cold box and pre-cooled. The gas is then heat-exchanged with liquefied helium, which is produced from a helium refrigeration cycle, turned into liquid and transferred to a storage container,” Mr Kawazoe said.

Thousands of kilometres away from both these sites, the Japanese Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), recently toured the HESC Pilot facilities in Kobe, Liquefied Hydrogen Storage and Unloading Terminal and the SUISO FRONTIER.

Hiroshi Kajiyama went onboard the SUISO FRONTIER, which will carry liquid hydrogen between Japan and Australia. Following the recent installation of the liquefied hydrogen storage tank, that will transfer liquefied hydrogen at -253 degrees Celsius, verification tests are underway.

The vessel will soon undergo assessment while doing domestic sea trials before setting off in 2021 to sail to Hastings.