World’s first coal-to-hydrogen plant trial commissioned for Victoria

Loy Yang A power station in Victoria. Image: Wikimedia Commons

The Loy Yang brown coal power station in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley is to become a test site for a first-of-its-kind coal-to-hydrogen clean energy pilot.

The project’s main aim is to convert brown coal from around the Loy Yang site (owned by energy major AGL) to liquid hydrogen for export to the Japanese market through a deal with four Japanese companies — Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Marubeni, Iwatani Corporation and J-Power — in addition to the Japanese government.

The trial was launched yesterday by government and industry representatives and attended by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and is expected to take two years to be ready for export to Japan from the Port of Hastings.

It is backed by $100 million in federal and state government funding ($50 million each) as part of an overall $496 million budget. The project is expected to create up to 400 jobs.

“It is amazing to think that brown coal here in Victoria is going to be keeping the lights on in Japan,” said the PM at a press conference for the event.

The project is a welcome boost for AGL, which has been criticised by the Australian Government for its plans to close the coal-fired Liddell power station in the Hunter Region, New South Wales.

Just over a year ago, there was a significant plant closure in Victoria when the Hazelwood power plant, owned by Engie and Mitsui and, like Loy Yang, located in the Latrobe valley, was decommissioned after more than 50 years of use.

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