$117M hydro plan

THE Lower Eyre Peninsula will be home to one of the largest green hydrogen production facilities in the world when a 15-megawatt hydrogen electrolyser power plant is constructed near Port Lincoln next year.

Company Hydrogen Utility (H2U) has been given a $4.7-million grant and $7.5-million loan from the state government’s Renewable Technology Fund to help get the $117.5-million project up and running with German-based electrolysis and ammonia specialist Thyssenkrupp.

The facility – which will create 30 construction and 30 ongoing jobs – will use energy from wind and solar resources to create hydrogen through electrolysis, which splits water into oxygen and hydrogen, the latter of which can be used to generate electricity via fuel cells or turbines. 

The hydrogen produced on Eyre Peninsula will be used to power a 10-megawatt hydrogen-fired gas turbine and a 5-megawatt hydrogen fuel cell, which will both supply power to the grid.

At the same time the plant will produce ammonia that can be sold to agricultural industries as fertiliser.

The project has received support from Regional Development Australia Whyalla and Eyre Peninsula (RDAWEP), ElectraNet, and the South Australia No-Till Farmers Association.

RDAWEP chief executive officer Dion Dorward said Eyre Peninsula was already the state’s leading exporter of grain, seafood and minerals and exporting hydrogen from Eyre Peninsula provided strategic advantages given the region’s export know-how, fertiliser demand, and abundance of renewables.

Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said the renewable energy project would secure cheaper power prices and the ability to store renewables would mean cheaper power “around the clock”.

He said hydrogen also offered an opportunity export the state’s sun and wind resources.

Hydrogen Utility chief executive Attilio Pigneri said the facility would demonstrate the technology and viability of hydrogen to the world. 

“It will provide balancing services to the national transmission grid, fast frequency response support to new solar plants under development in the Eyre Peninsula... and host the demonstration, at scale, of novel supply chain technologies for the export of green hydrogen from Australia to markets in the Asia-Pacific region,” Dr Pigneri said.