The Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC) project in Victoria has entered the commercial demonstration phase with the commitment of approximately $2.35 billion in funding from the Japanese Government’s Green Innovation Fund.
The funds will be delivered via Japan Suiso Energy (JSE) comprising Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Iwatani Corporation. A newly formed J-POWER and Sumitomo Corporation Joint Venture (JPSC JV) will supply 30,000 tonnes of clean hydrogen gas per year, to a JSE owned and operated liquefaction and shipping facility at the industrial Port of Hastings.
The capital enables JSE to design and build commercial scale facilities to liquefy and ship the hydrogen from Port of Hastings to the Port of Kawasaki in Japan, bringing significant economic benefits to Victoria and Hastings in particular.
The JPSC JV will extract the hydrogen from Latrobe Valley coal with CO2 capture and storage facilities in the nearby Bass Strait. The project will help reduce atmospheric CO2 on the path to net zero by 2050 and at full commercial scale, create many sustainable energy jobs, in the Latrobe Valley and Hastings.
Mining and Energy Union (MEU) Victorian President Trevor Williams said the project would create hope and opportunity for working families in the Latrobe Valley, where prior and impending coal-fired power station closures were creating deep anxiety for the region’s future.
“The pilot project has demonstrated that carbon-neutral hydrogen can be economically generated from Latrobe Valley coal and transported to Japan,” he said.
“Expanding and commercialising this project helps the Japanese economy’s energy transition, while also building a viable new industry to support the economic transition of the Latrobe Valley.
“We expect that contracts to provide coal to the hydrogen plant will provide full-time, well-paid career pathways for Latrobe Valley coal mineworkers and energy workers facing displacement by power station closures.
“Any industry consistent with a low carbon future delivering such good alternative jobs for power workers and coal miners must be supported by any responsible government,” said MEU Victorian President Trevor Williams.
Modelling has shown the project will generate more than 1000 jobs a year in the operational phase, with about half in the Latrobe Valley.
Mr Williams said the hydrogen plant was the first real step towards economic diversification of the Latrobe Valley and could open a pathway for producing other carbon-neutral products from Latrobe Valley coal including urea, ammonia and Adblue, supporting Australia’s self-sufficiency in these products.