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Hydrogen plan fuels global interest

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The state government says it has received 60 proposals from organisations across the world vying to be part of its $593 million hydrogen plant near Whyalla as competition with other states for a slice of the emerging industry heats up.

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The project, likely to involve major global companies, is set to include a 250MWe hydrogen electrolyser, a 200MW combined cycle gas turbine generator principally fuelled by hydrogen and a 3600-tonne hydrogen storage facility that will equate to one of the world’s biggest hydrogen power plants.

The two-year construction period is expected to begin by the middle of 2023 with the plant operational by the end of 2025.

The government’s market sounding process, calling for proposals from industry on the technical, system and commercial project approaches for the hydrogen facility, included submissions from global operators; large-scale renewable energy developers; and, companies with links to local industry and workforces.

The recently established Office of Hydrogen Power will use these submissions to inform the future procurement processes and final site selection for the project.

“What we are trying to do is understand from industry how they think we should do it and then we’ll use that information to better understand where the market is at with things but also to design a procurement strategy so we can get some competition going for supplies from around the world,” Hydrogen Power SA chief executive Sam Crafter recently told InDaily.

Premier Peter Malinauskas said it was clear that the project had “captured the imagination of the world”.

“The high interest in the market sounding process has demonstrated the level of interest in the state’s hydrogen jobs plan and leaves little doubt that the green hydrogen industry in South Australia is on the up and up,” he said.

“We have positioned our state as a world leader in renewable energy, and the green hydrogen industry is the next step as we head towards net zero carbon emissions.”

Other major hydrogen projects in SA include the nearby Port Bonython Hydrogen Hub, which has received $70 million in federal funding, $30 million from the state government and is expected to generate a further $40 million in private investment.

The state government last year short-listed seven potential projects at the hub involving the companies Santos, Fortescue Future Industries, Origin Energy, H2U, Neoen, Chiyoda, ENEOS Australia, Mitsubishi Australia, and AMP Energy.

However, South Australia is competing with several other Australian states to become a leader in the emerging hydrogen industry and win a slice of the expected $270 billion of investment to be injected into the industry as the world pushes for decarbonisation over the coming decades.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet this week met with executives from South Korean automotive giant Hyundai in Seoul to promote green hydrogen manufactured in his state.

The global car manufacturer is a leader in hydrogen fuel cell technology, and has launched zero-emission electric vehicles.

In a speech to Korean businessmen on Monday, Perrottet said “NSW has the resources to be a global clean energy superpower”.

Last week in Japan on the first leg of his 10-day Asian trade tour, he said he wanted drivers around the world to be filling with hydrogen from NSW rather than oil from the Middle East.

 – with AAP

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