Wednesday, 05 May 2021 13:52

Arena backs three commercial-scale renewable hydrogen projects


The Australian Renewable Energy Agency has conditionally funded three commercial-scale renewable projects worth $103.3 million. Arena says these projects will further the government’s goal of ‘H2 under $2’.

On behalf of the Australian Government, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced it has conditionally funded $103.3 million to three commercial-scale renewable hydrogen projects, as part of its Renewable Hydrogen Deployment Funding Round.

The three successful projects are:

Engie Renewables Australia (ENGIE): Arena allocated $42.5 million for a 10 MW electrolyser project to produce renewable hydrogen in a consortium with Yara Pilbara Fertilisers at the existing ammonia facility in Karratha, Western Australia;

Atco Australia (ATCO): Arena allocated $28.7 million for a 10 MW electrolyser for gas blending at Atco’s Clean Energy Innovation Park in Warradarge, Western Australia;

Australian Gas Networks (AGIG): Arena allocated $32.1 million for a 10 MW electrolyser for gas blending at Agig’s Murray Valley Hydrogen Park in Wodonga, Victoria.

To support these projects, Arena says, it has increased the funding envelope—originally $70 million—by $33.3 million. In total, these three projects have a total of $161 million.

At 10 MW, the electrolysers in these hydrogen plants will be among the largest so far built in the world.

Arena says the projects will also “play a significant role in supporting commercial-scale deployments of renewable hydrogen in Australia” and “help progress Australia’s pathway to achieving the Australian Government’s goal of ‘H2 under $2’”.

Engie will use renewable hydrogen to produce ammonia at the Yara Pilbara Fertilisers site, while Atco and Agig’s projects will use renewable energy to produce renewable hydrogen for gas blending into existing natural gas pipelines, according to Arena.

Last year, Arena launched the funding round to support Australia’s first commercial scale hydrogen projects to fast track the development of renewable hydrogen in Australia.

The funding round called large scale hydrogen electrolyser projects across Australia to drive the “commercialisation of key component technologies and facilitate cost reductions for producing renewable hydrogen.” Arena received 36 applicants, and after initial assessment, seven projects were shortlisted and invited to submit full applications.

After an extensive assessment process, three projects were selected for funding. Engie, Atco and Agig must now satisfy a number of development conditions and achieve financial close before funding is released. Arena will continue to work with the companies to achieve this.

Arena CEO Darren Miller says “renewable hydrogen presents an opportunity to help reduce emissions globally and locally, transform our energy system, and create a new export industry for Australia.”

“These three projects, we believe, will help kickstart renewable hydrogen production in Australia at a large scale. One of the projects will see clean hydrogen, used to make ammonia, for export and the other two will blend clean hydrogen into our gas pipelines to help decarbonise our natural gas networks”, says Miller.

Miller notes that the hydrogen industry in Australia is in its infancy. “So the lessons learned from these three projects—and the entire funding round—will be important in driving our future hydrogen economy.”

With more than $100 million in funding, we’re hoping to build some of the biggest hydrogen electrolysers in the world. The ultimate goal is to bring down the cost of hydrogen produced using renewable energy and growing our skills and capacity to meet future global demand for hydrogen”, he adds.

“We have been very impressed with the response to the round and I’d like to thank all of the companies that submitted applications. With the round stimulating interest in the sector, we can see a number of well-progressed feasibility studies and large projects emerging. Australia is well-placed to become a major player as the clean hydrogen market develops”, Miller concludes.

According to Arena, it has been active in the “clean hydrogen sector since 2016, and has committed $57 million to hydrogen projects including $22.1 million towards 16 R&D (research and development) projects, as well as feasibility studies into large scale projects and smaller scale demonstrations looking at renewable hydrogen production, power to gas and hydrogen mobility.

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