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QLD Gov explores hydrogen export from Port of Hay Point

Port of Hay Point,Mackay.
Port of Hay Point,Mackay.
Port of Hay Point,Mackay. Photo courtesy of North Queensland Bulk Ports

A Queensland coal export terminal could become host to renewable hydrogen production and export infrastructure under a new proposal backed by the Queensland Government.

The Queensland Government-owned North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation (NQBP) joined Dalrymple Bay Infrastructure, Brookfield, and international trading company ITOCHU Corporation to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) yesterday to undertake a study into the potential production, storage and export of renewable hydrogen from the Dalrymple Bay terminal at the Port of Hay Point, south of Mackay.

The Dalrymple Bay terminal is one of the world’s largest metallurgical coal export facilities, which has been supplying coal from the Bowen Basin coal fields to global export markets since 1983.

Queensland Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen Mick de Brenni said the Palaszczuk Government’s focus on renewable energy, hydrogen and manufacturing was part of Queensland’s Covid-19 economic recovery plan.

“That plan is about supporting regional economies through targeted investments that support job-creation and workforce development,” Mr de Brenni said.

“Hydrogen presents an incredible opportunity to create jobs and decarbonise our economy.”

The Queensland Government’s $2 billion Queensland Renewable Energy and Hydrogen Jobs Fund allows energy government-owned corporations to increase ownership of commercial renewable energy and hydrogen projects, as well as supporting infrastructure, including in partnership with the private sector.

“Our $2 billion Renewable Energy and Hydrogen Jobs Fund is about working with industry to encourage investment in emerging industries like hydrogen,” Mr de Brenni said.

As part of the strategy, the Queensland Government is also backing a plan and securing a site for a three-gigawatt renewable hydrogen facility in Aldoga, west of Gladstone, while also supporting studies to establish a renewable hydrogen demonstration plant next to Kogan Creek Power Station near Chinchilla.

Earlier this year, the Queensland Government also signed an agreement to develop a liquid hydrogen facility at the Port of Townsville. The agreement between the Port and Origin energy company will eventually see the port facilitating export of 36,500 tonnes of green liquid hydrogen to Japan’s Kawasaki Heavy Industries each year.

Mr de Brenni said the Queensland Government was also working with business groups to develop local workforce capability and supply chains in hydrogen.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said Queensland’s publicly-owned ports needed to be ready to capitalise on the future demand for exported hydrogen from international trading partners.

“Renewable hydrogen can be stored and used over time, and, as a future fuel source, is one of the most promising solutions for reducing global emissions, particularly in the transport and heavy industry sectors,” Mr Bailey said.

“Hay Point is a critical part of our state’s supply chain and Queensland’s economy, connecting regional Queensland to power, food and steel industries in Asia,” Mr Bailey said.

“Agreements like this allow us to prepare the port to meet the energy needs of developing industries across the globe.”

The MoU between NQBP, Dalrymple Bay Infrastructure and ITOCHU Corporation is the first step in what would be “a thorough and considered process,” according to NQBP CEO Nicolas Fertin.

“We are at an early stage of possible developments, with future steps involving further feasibility studies, consulting with community, traditional owners and regulators.”

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