Kawasaki begins construction of Victorian coal-to-hydrogen plant

Image: Kawasaki

Kawasaki Heavy Industries subsidiary Hydrogen Engineering has started building works on important components of a government-backed pilot project in Victoria that will convert brown coal to hydrogen.

The company is developing the hydrogen liquefaction and loading terminal for its $500 million Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC) project in the Latrobe Valley.

Kawasaki has designed the terminal to convert hydrogen gas made from brown coal sourced from the Loy Yang power station into liquefied hydrogen for transport to Japan via a purpose-built marine carrier.

The coal is converted into gas by exposing it to oxygen under high pressures and temperatures to form a gas composed of carbon monoxide and hydrogen.

The Kawasaki-led project, which is set for completion by June 2020, is being delivered by a consortium of Japanese and Australian energy and infrastructure companies, in cooperation with the Victorian, Australian and Japanese Governments. The Victorian and Australian Government each contributed $50 million to the project in 2018.

Australian Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan, Minister for Trade Simon Birmingham, Victoria Treasurer Tim Pallas and Japanese Ambassador to Australia Reiichiro Takahashi launched the project on July 19.

“Australia is well placed to become a global leader in hydrogen production and this pilot project is a crucial step towards making this vision a reality,” Canavan said.

“This project promises to be of huge benefit to both nations and particularly the state of Victoria, which has the opportunity to develop an alternative and value-adding use of its abundant brown coal reserves in the Latrobe Valley.”

The pilot production phase is set to produce three tonnes of liquefied gas over a one-year period. Other companies involved in the project include J-Power, J-Power Latrobe Valley, Iwatani, Marubeni and AGL Energy (owners of Loy Yang).

“Delivering clean hydrogen to the world for the benefit of our environment is a goal we share deeply and we look forward to achieving,” Kawasaki chairman Shigeru Murayama said. 

“The hydrogen economy is already materialising in Japan, and it is wonderful to now be breaking ground here in Australia. We are excited to be translating our joint hydrogen vision into reality.”

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