New MoU could open renewable hydrogen facilities in Townsville

MoU

Les Walker MP, Ark Energy CEO Daniel Kim, Port of Townsville CEO Ranee Crosby, assistant minister Lance McCallum and Aaron Harper MP in Townsville. Image: QLD government

Ark Energy – an Australian subsidiary of the largest zinc, lead and silver producer in the world – has signed a MoU with the Port of Townsville which could catalyse 120,000 tonnes of renewable hydrogen shipped to South Korea from Queensland. 

A feasibility study will investigate the possibility of a renewable hydrogen facility for the transport industry at Sun Metals’ zinc refinery in Townsville, and hydrogen export facilities at the Port. 

The initial goal is to build North Queensland’s domestic hydrogen economy by supporting fleet owners to transition away from diesel to zero emission hydrogen fuel cell commercial vehicles. These can be refuelled at SunHQ. 

“Ultimately our goal is to export green hydrogen to customers in Asia, starting with our parent company in South Korea whose hydrogen demand could be as high as 200,000 tonnes per annum,” Ark Energy chief executive officer Daniel Kim said. 

“We believe that Townsville has the potential to become a major global hub for hydrogen exports. The MoU with the Port of Townsville is an important step in our journey to investigate this exciting export opportunity, which has the potential to transform the regional economy of North Queensland.” 

Townsville, with its deep-water port and proximity to Asia, has a strategic edge to become a global hub for producing and exporting hydrogen. 

“This is another exciting renewable energy project for the Port, as green hydrogen becomes one of the most sought-after energy products on the world market,” Port of Townsville chief executive officer Ranee Crosby said. 

“We recently released our Port Vision 2050 – our roadmap for the next 30 years – which has a strong emphasis on action for climate change. Facilitating the production, usage and export of green hydrogen is one of the Port’s strategic goals.” 

North Queensland is set to become a major hub in the state’s hydrogen supply chain. 

“We’ve backed Sun Metals with a $5 million Hydrogen Industry Development Fund grant to kickstart hydrogen production in the North,” minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen Mick de Brenni said. 

“Now, through partnerships like this one, Queensland hydrogen will help decarbonise the world and create decent, secure jobs for regional Queenslanders.” 

The Port of Townsville is a key piece of infrastructure in developing hydrogen exports. 

“Sun Metals is one of Townsville’s most innovative businesses and it’s exciting to have their sister company, Ark Energy, plan to export renewable hydrogen to South Korea from Queensland’s publicly-owned port,” minister for Resources and member for Townsville Scott Stewart said. 

Ark Energy’s SunHQ hydrogen hub received a grant last year to produce renewable hydrogen in Townsville, while the Port of Townsville previously signed an MoU with Origin Energy to export hydrogen to Japan.