Renewable hydrogen project developer Countrywide Hydrogen has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Launceston Airport (APAL) to explore the development of a multi-purpose renewable hydrogen project at Launceston Airport.
Countrywide, a fully owned subsidiary of ASX-listed ReNu Energy Ltd (ASX:RNE), will investigate the feasibility of using solar power to produce hydrogen as an alternate to grid connected renewable power.
The solar array would be installed on vacant airport land to provide behind-the-meter electricity.
Hydrogen could then be produced using an up to 5MW electrolyser – the system that uses electricity to separate hydrogen from water – with the potential to scale up as demand increases.
The production of hydrogen could support Tasmanian heavy transport to transition from diesel to emission-free hydrogen.
The use of solar power in the production process would help to minimise the cost of hydrogen production as well as the price of hydrogen supplied to customers, making the emission-free fuel as competitive and attractive as possible.
In commenting on the project, Countrywide Managing Director Geoff Drucker said: “We are incredibly excited by the number of complementary hub opportunities this collaboration could afford Northern Tasmania Including on-site hydrogen refuelling for bus and truck operators looking to decarbonise their vehicle fleet, while offering fuel cell vehicle servicing, maintenance and upskilling diesel mechanics and technicians.
“There is potential for Tas Gas to install a new gas reticulation system at Western Junction, delivering a decarbonised natural gas network for the local commercial and industrial zone, all of which will help Tasmania lead the world in achieving renewable energy self-sufficiency and slashing emissions.”
Launceston Airport CEO Shane O’Hare said that, if feasible, such a project would support the company’s ambitious emissions reductions targets.
“We have set a target of net-zero Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2025, and this project could help us to achieve that through the provision of solar-powered electricity.
“It could also support our vision to develop a logistics hub at Western Junction encompassing road, rail and air. The ability for heavy transport to refuel here using hydrogen would support the Tasmanian Government’s emissions reduction targets.
“We are pleased to be working with Countrywide Hydrogen to assess the feasibility of the project.”
Minister for Energy and Renewables, and local state member for the electorate of Lyons, the Hon Guy Barnett MP, congratulated Countrywide Hydrogen and the Launceston Airport on the initiative and said he looked forward to seeing its development.
“Hydrogen is a burgeoning industry and Tasmania has plans to be a leading – and genuinely green – hydrogen producer.”
“Through our Future Gas Strategy and our Renewable Hydrogen Action Plan, the Tasmanian Government recognises that hydrogen will be an important enabler for the transition to a clean energy system, especially where electrification is not a feasible alternative.”
Preliminary works to be investigated as part of the feasibility study include concept design and financial modelling, land use and access, off-take arrangements and discussions with other potential stakeholders.
Initial works are due to start this year.