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Australia exports first shipment of liquefied hydrogen to Japan

liquefied hydrogen

Australia is exporting the world’s first shipment of liquefied hydrogen from Victoria to Japan, following the arrival of the Suiso Frontier carrier as part of the Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC) pilot project. 

This will herald the start of a major new energy export industry in Australia. 

The HESC project is a world-first, with aim to produce 225,000 tonnes of clean hydrogen each year in the Latrobe Valley. 

“A successful Australian hydrogen industry means lower emissions, greater energy production and more local jobs,” prime minister Scott Morrison said. “The HESC project is key to both Australia and Japan and our hydrogen industries. In addition to our government’s support for HESC, we have recently established the Australian Clean Hydrogen Trade Program and committed up to $150 million to the first round that will focus on clean hydrogen supply chains with Japan.” 

The HESC project demonstrates the benefits of Australia cooperating with Japan, realised last year under the Japan-Australia Partnership on Decarbonisation through Technology, Morrison said. 

“The HESC project puts Australia at the forefront of the global energy transition to lower emissions through clean hydrogen, which is a fuel of the future,” he said. 

The clean hydrogen will be produced from local brown coal, with carbon dioxide from this process to be captured and securely stored in the CarbonNet project’s offshore reservoir in Gippsland. 

It is estimated the 225,000 tonnes of carbon neutral liquefied hydrogen (LH2) produced by HESC in a commercial phase will help reduce global emissions by around 1.8 million tonnes per year, the equivalent of emissions from 350,000 petrol cars. 

To coincide with the milestone, the federal government is announcing $7.5 million to support the next $184 million pre-commercialisation phase of HESC. It will also commit $20 million to the next stage of the CarbonNet project. This funding is contingent on additional commitments from the Victorian and Japanese governments, and HESC business partners. 

“The HESC project and the arrival of the liquefied hydrogen carrier today cements Australia’s position as a world leader in hydrogen,” minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said. “Today’s achievement is a testament to Australian governments working with industry and our international partners to achieve a shared vision.  

“The HESC project has the potential to become a major source of clean energy, which will help Australia and Japan both reach our goals of net zero emissions by 2050. Not only this, but the HESC project is delivering jobs and economic activity for Victoria, with a clean hydrogen sector potentially able to generate more than $50 billion in additional GDP by 2050.”  

The HESC project combines several technology elements, including a new way to use Latrobe Valley coal, minister for Resources and Water Keith Pitt said. 

“The HESC project demonstrates the importance that Australian resources, such as local Latrobe Valley coal, will have in development of new low emissions industries,” Pitt said.  

“The development of HESC and CarbonNet will build on Australia’s reputation as a safe, stable and reliable exporter of resources and energy to the world, including throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Australia’s resources and energy exports are estimated to reach $379 billion in the current financial year and to continue to support Australia’s economic growth and jobs, particularly in regional Australia.”  

According to assistant minister to the minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction, Tim Wilson, the International Energy Agency projects hydrogen demand to double by 2030. 

“Today’s arrival of the liquefied hydrogen carrier ushers in a new era of clean energy exports to create new jobs and opportunities for Australians,” he said. 

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