What's the project timeline?
If the pilot is successful, the Project Partners will move towards commercial-scale operations and a multi-billion-dollar commercial phase. The decision to proceed to a commercial phase will be made in the 2020s with operations targeted in the 2030s, depending on the successful completion of the pilot phase, regulatory approvals, social licence to operate and hydrogen demand.
How many local jobs has the pilot created?
Are you currently accepting job applications or seeking suppliers?
The HESC Pilot Project created approximately 400 jobs across the Victorian supply chain. It has the potential for thousands more in the commercial phase, so we encourage interested parties to keep an eye on project progress via our website and e-newsletter.
What are the main uses for hydrogen energy?
Hydrogen is versatile and can be used in a broad range of applications. Hydrogen can be used, like natural gas, to heat homes and industry, and for cooking. Hydrogen can power fuel cell electric cars, trucks, buses and trains. It can also be used to generate electricity (through fuel cells). Finally, hydrogen can be exported, either as an energy carrier or for use as a chemical feedstock – hydrogen‘s most common use today is as a chemical ingredient.
Combined across these use cases, hydrogen could account for almost one-fifth of total final energy consumed by 2050. This would reduce annual CO2 emissions by roughly 6 gigatonnes compared to today’s technologies.
Is hydrogen safe?
Yes. Pure hydrogen gas is not toxic and cannot ignite or explode spontaneously. An ignition source and oxidiser (like oxygen) must be present. When handled responsibly and safely, hydrogen is no more or less dangerous than other flammable fuels like natural gas and gasoline. Technologies and handling practices already exist to ensure that hydrogen can be safely produced, stored, transported and used.
Measures will be put in place along all stages of the supply chain to prevent, detect and mitigate the risk of hydrogen risks. These will be in accordance with government standards for portable gases and fuels.
Additional measures will be used to safely store liquid hydrogen, which must be kept at extremely low temperatures, including the development of purpose-built ships for overseas transport.
The liquid hydrogen storage containers are very solid, safe and, similarly to other specialised containers, are manufactured to comply with strict industry standards. They are double-walled and vacuum-sealed. They are also designed to release the hydrogen as a gas in the unlikely event that the outer or the inner wall is breached.
The HESC Project Partners have a wealth of experience in the safe handling of hydrogen gained since the 1970s. They have developed the world’s best practice health and safety procedures that will be followed carefully in all Australian operations. In Japan, they already operate many hydrogen facilities and refuelling stations.
What will happen to the new infrastructure once the pilot phase is complete?
Who is delivering the HESC project?
What will the hydrogen from the pilot be used for?
Only a very small quantity (one to three tonnes) of hydrogen will be produced during the pilot phase. This will be used for demonstration purposes only.
What is the cost of the pilot phase?
The HESC Pilot will see close to half a billion Australian dollars invested by the Japanese and Australian industry partners, and the Victorian, Australian and Japanese Governments.
The Victorian and Australian Governments have each invested $50 million for the delivery of the pilot as a practical investigation of a viable new industry for the Latrobe Valley and Australia
Is the pilot project producing CO2?
Carbon offsets have been purchased to mitigate emissions from the pilot.
In the commercial phase, carbon dioxide would be captured during this process and stored deep underground in a process known as carbon capture and storage (CCS). The CarbonNet Project, which is jointly funded by the Australian and Victorian Governments, is investigating the potential for establishing a commercial-scale CCS network from the Latrobe Valley to offshore storage sites in the Gippsland Basin.
CarbonNet presents a potential CCS solution for the HESC commercial phase.
For more information on CCS, we recommend visiting the CarbonNet Project web page: www.earthresources.vic.gov.au/carbonnet
What will be the cost of hydrogen produced in a commercial HESC Project?
According to 2019 data from the 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.
HESC Project Partners are confident they can deliver cost-competitive hydrogen.
How much hydrogen gas is being produced?
Will there be any toxic waste?
There will be some waste generated, including ash (from the coal), a small amount of water from the drying and cooling process, and some used refractory and metal material from the gasifier.
All of these waste materials will be contained on-site as part of the plant design, treated on-site or disposed of via accredited disposal pathways.
How is the hydrogen gas being stored and transported?
Trucks will operate during the daytime only, with one trip made each month.
This method of storing and transporting hydrogen is common practice in Australia.
Where exactly is the facility located?
What happens when gaseous hydrogen comes to Hastings?
The facility will liquefy hydrogen gas by cooling it to − 253°C and reducing it to 1/800th its volume. Specially made refrigeration equipment will be used. The technology has been in use for more than 25 years in many countries.
The liquefied hydrogen is stored at the facility in a multi-layer vacuum insulated cryogenic container. A similar container is already operational in Japan.
The Suiso Frontier will make its first trip to Australia, between October 2021 and March 2022.
How many trips will the marine carrier make between Australia and Japan?
Will the project require dredging of Western Port to allow the ship to transport hydrogen?
How do you know there will be no impact on Western Port’s sea life?
Partners have started investigation and consultation with relevant parties to scope the possibility of marine pest monitoring and will report back to the community the results of this research.
What route will the marine carrier take?
How will HESC manage the impacts of ballast water?
However, if ballast water needs to be discharged at Hastings, a water treatment facility will be installed on the ship to ensure ballast water is treated prior to being released. This would prevent the spread of foreign marine species to the Port of Hastings.
Liquefaction of hydrogen is very energy-intensive, why are you not using ammonia as a carrier?
What are the details of the commercial phase/facility?
Where will the commercial scale project be located?
Will there be a pipeline required for the gaseous hydrogen?
Will the commercial phase go ahead without a CCS solution?
How many ships would travel in and out of the port in a commercial phase each day?
If you are only capturing 90% of the CO2 at gasification and also generating GHG emissions via the other supply-chain processes (e.g. diesel ship engine), how is this a clean hydrogen project?
A certification of hydrogen was a recommendation of the National Hydrogen Strategy prepared by Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel.
A Certificate of Origin would consider CO2 released into the atmosphere during, for example, a HESC commercial project.
It will avoid misunderstanding and provide consumers with transparency around the environmental impacts of the hydrogen, providing flexibility of being technology neutral. The end user of the hydrogen will be able to make an informed decision about the carbon intensity of the hydrogen they are purchasing.
Reliable emissions tracing is also vital to ensure the Australian Government can track progress towards its 2050 Paris Agreement commitments, to limit global temperature increases by reducing national greenhouse gas emissions.