The Federal Government has put up funds for a proposed hydrogen export project in Queensland.

A key challenge of producing cost-competitive green hydrogen by electrolysis is the high capital costs of equipment. ‘

Large export-scale projects have the potential to improve cost competitiveness due to economies of scale.

On behalf of the Australian Government, ARENA has today announced up to $2.17 million in funding to Stanwell Corporation Limited (Stanwell) to complete a feasibility study in partnership with Japan’s largest hydrogen supplier, Iwatani Corporation.

The study will investigate the feasibility of developing a hydrogen production facility capable of producing up to 36,500 tonnes per annum of renewable hydrogen and export to Japan from 2026. 

Stanwell and Iwatani’s long term plan is to scale up to 328,500 tonnes per annum in 2031 to meet forecast Japanese demand. Stanwell proposes to ship hydrogen in liquid form utilising liquid hydrogen shipping vessels.

The $10.4 million study is also supported by investment from a broader consortium of Japanese and domestic partners including Kansai Electric Power Corporation, Marubeni Corporation, Kawasaki Heavy Industries and APA Group, and funding support from the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

Australia is believed to hold a competitive advantage in the emerging hydrogen export market due to its existing expertise and infrastructure in energy export supply chains, proximity to key emerging hydrogen import markets in Asia with established trade relationships, and an abundance of renewable energy resources.

In January 2020, the Australian and Japanese governments signed a Joint Statement of Cooperation on Hydrogen and Fuel Cells. 

In June of this year, the governments also announced the Japan-Australia Partnership on Decarbonisation through Technology, recognising their shared ambition to accelerate the development and commercialisation of low and zero emissions technologies, including clean hydrogen. 

“Stanwell’s study presents a significant opportunity to accelerate the development of export opportunities for renewable hydrogen in Australia and to work with a highly credible consortium from Japan that has the potential to deliver a large scale export project,” says ARENA CEO Darren Miller.

“Australia’s vast solar and wind resources and our proven ability to export energy products mean we are well placed to build a large-scale competitive hydrogen export industry in the future. 

“Feasibility studies like this are a necessary and crucial step to build the case to attract the finance required for large impactful projects.”

ARENA has also previously provided $913,667 in funding to Stanwell to investigate the feasibility of a 10 MW electrolyser deployment project at the Stanwell Power Station near Rockhampton, Queensland, to supply domestic hydrogen.