Hydrogen Pilot Plant: Australia Japan Collaboration
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Hydrogen Pilot Plant: Australia Japan Collaboration

Hydrogen Pilot Plant: Australia Japan Collaboration

Japanese and Australian companies together with the Federal Government and State Government of Victoria as well as Japanese Government support have come together to fund an expected $500 million pilot – The Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC) project. It is a world first trial to demonstrate hydrogen production from brown coal and safe and efficient transport of liquefied hydrogen to Japan. AGL’s Loy Yang mine in Victoria will be host for the project. A Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) solution will also be critical for the project to achieve commercial scale in the future. The first shipment of hydrogen from the pilot plant is scheduled for 2020-2021. Hydrogen is a clean energy source having the advantage that it only creates water as an emission when combusted.

The supply chain elements of the project are:

  • Gasification of brown coal in the Latrobe Valley
  • Refining of the gas to produce hydrogen
  • Transportation to the port
  • Liquefaction at the port
  • Storage and loading onto a specialised ship
  • Liquid hydrogen shipping
  • Unloading and storage in Japan

Apart from AGL, members of the Japanese consortium are:

  • Kawasaki Heavy Industries
  • J-Power
  • Iwatani
  • Marubeni

In 2015, the Japanese Government, through the New Energy Development Organisation (NEDO ) funded an initial pilot project. In 2016, the CO2-free Hydrogen Energy Supply-Chain Technology Research Association (HySTRA) was established in Japan by Kawasaki Heavy Industries, J-Power, Iwatani and Shell Japan. Information on HySTRA is available here. (only Japanese). The aim of this association is to achieve a commercial liquefied hydrogen supply chain from overseas. In particular HySTRA will concentrate on 3 areas of the supply chain, namely: lignite (brown coal) gasification equipment; hydrogen liquefaction and transport; and hydrogen storage and transport equipment.

Assessing the result of the pilot phase, the targeted objective is to move to a commercially viable scaleup plant scheduled for the 2030s.