One step closer to establishing Townsville as a Hydrogen cluster

9th October 2021

Today the Townsville Enterprise led North Queensland Hydrogen Consortium (NQH2) submitted its formal proposal to the Federal Government’s National Energy Resources Australia (NERA) to establish Townsville as a declared Hydrogen Cluster.

The proposal outlines why Townsville is the most strategically placed location in the nation to be an established Hydrogen Cluster, due to the region’s abundance of solar, wind, hydro, and biomass resources which can be sustainably harnessed to generate green hydrogen for a cleaner energy future.

The submission comes off the back of the formation of the North Queensland Hydrogen Consortium (NQH2) of which many had already been working together as a broader hydrogen working group in Townsville since March 2019. The consortium will provide concierge and facilitation services to support a complete, end to end, hydrogen ecosystem which will advance North Queensland as a major Hydrogen contender in both the domestic and international marketplaces.

An emerging renewable hydrogen industry in North Queensland offers exceptional opportunities for a collaborative hydrogen industry ecosystem to generate more jobs, advanced manufacturing and could be a catalyst for the growth of small business capability and skills in the renewables sector and other flow on industries.

Townsville Enterprise CEO, Claudia Brumme-Smith said the NQH2 Consortium was committed to leveraging it’s natural and built assets to ensure a Hydrogen Hub is realised for Townsville.

“As a group, we are ensuring we are putting our best foot forward as we bring together all the pieces of the puzzle as the most strategically placed location to become a hydrogen hub,” Ms Brumme-Smith said.

“We have all the ingredients to become a hydrogen hub - 320 days of sunshine, wind, water, new economy minerals, and a deep-water port.

“Additionally, projects such as Copperstring 2.0, Hells Gates Dam Pumped Hydro, Kidston Pumped Storage, Ark Energy’s hydrogen production facility and new hydrogen powered trucks, and Edify Energy’s Majors Creek Solar Power project will ensure that that the region has the foundations for the acceleration of the hydrogen industry for domestic and global demand.

“In the submission, we clearly articulate how through infrastructure investment Townsville can deliver on the Federal Government’s priority of developing hydrogen industry across the nation. To activate the hydrogen industry in the region we are seeking identification of Hub requirements, Hub feasibility and design for common user export infrastructure, and funding for identified common user infrastructure requirements.

“Hydrogen is the future of our city and region and it's important for us to get it right, which is why industry and all levels of government are working together on a strategic plan to develop common user infrastructure to create a globally competitive hydrogen industry right here in Townsville.”

Federal Member for Herbert Phillip Thompson said he had been pleased to be working closely with the consortium.

“This is a great step forward for the consortium who’ve been working hard on bringing all the pieces of the puzzle together and building a solid case,” Mr Thompson said.

“This is an independent process separate from government so there are no guarantees, but you have to be in it to win it and I’ll be pushing our case wherever I can.”

Hydrogen is one part of Townsville’s diversified future and for the first time the region is not only looking at supplying its own energy but providing green energy to the world. South Korea and Japan are the two identified hydrogen export markets for Australia and with Ark Energy's partnership with Korea Zinc and Origin Energy's subsidiary Kawasaki, Townsville is already in the box seat to secure this global opportunity.

Port of Townsville CEO Ranee Crosby was pleased to support the development of hydrogen industries across North Queensland.

“Facilitating the production, usage and export of green hydrogen is one of the Port of Townsville’s strategic goals,” Ms Crosby said.

“With the renewable energy potential and regional partners progressing new hydrogen technology, Townsville is a world class location for renewable hydrogen production with significant export potential to close Asian markets.”

The larger proponents of the Consortium such as Ark Energy (subsidiary of Korea Zinc) and Origin in partnership with Japanese Kawasaki Industries have already secured major offtake agreements within the Korean and Japanese Market – something that sets the Townsville proposal apart from others.

Ark Energy is already looking to produce its own hydrogen onsite to power five fuel cell trucks for its sister company Townsville Logistics to transport zinc from the refinery to the Port. Additionally, after recently signing an MOU with the Port of Townsville, Ark is investigating the potential to export 120,000 tonnes per year of hydrogen to South Korea from 2030.

Ark Energy CEO Daniel Kim, and now NQH2 foundation member, said its mission is to become the safest and one of the most competitive producers of green hydrogen in the world.

“Ark Energy believes that Townsville has the potential to be a major global hub for hydrogen exports, as well as taking a leadership role in building the domestic hydrogen economy of North Queensland,” Mr Kim said.

Edify Energy, one of Australia’s leading large scale renewable electricity generation and storage companies, is also a part of the NQH2 Consortium. Edify strongly believes in hydrogen as a fuel source the planet needs and the competitive advantages of exporting it from Townsville.

Edify is actively progressing a large-scale green hydrogen production facility at the proposed Lansdown Eco-Industrial Precinct. As a first for the State, Edify was recently granted Development Approval by the Townsville City Council for its 1 GW green hydrogen facility (to be built in stages) with behind the meter renewable electricity and storage capability.

“Edify will play a leadership role in the establishment of a green hydrogen industry in North Queensland and Australia by developing, financing, and delivering green hydrogen production facilities that meet the needs of the domestic and export markets,” CEO John Cole said.

“Through the implementation of this Hub, the region is primed to unlock significant new hydrogen economy jobs and business opportunities, which ultimately support and align to government policy objectives, including the Federal Government’s National Hydrogen Strategy.”

After being declared a Cluster, the Consortium will be seeking Federal Government funding for the feasibility works on common user infrastructure that will support the growth of Hydrogen in Townsville and North Queensland.

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