Australian state teams up with Japan’s IHI to study green hydrogen production

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – The Australian state of Queensland will work with Japan’s IHI Corp to look into building a demonstration plant to produce hydrogen using solar power as part of a big push by the state to develop a hydrogen industry.

IHI and state-owned power producer CS Energy plan to study building a hydrogen demonstration plant next to a solar farm and battery that would power an electrolyser to split water and produce hydrogen.

“The move is part of IHI’s efforts to develop technology and create a value chain of hydrogen and ammonia to help decarbonise society,” an IHI spokeswoman in Tokyo said.

IHI plans to use its technology and know-how from a green hydrogen project in Soma, north of Tokyo, in the feasibility study in Queensland, she said, without disclosing the size or timing for the new demonstration project.

“Australia is a promising area for building a commercially-based green hydrogen plant in the future, as the country can generate a large volume of solar power at a reasonable cost,” she added.

The Queensland government has committed A$25 million ($19 million) towards developing a hydrogen industry and sees ties with Japan as key, as the country has committed to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 with the help of hydrogen.

The project with IHI follows a partnership Queensland announced in November involving another state-owned power producer, Stanwell Corp, with Japan’s top hydrogen supplier Iwatani Corp to develop a green hydrogen export facility in Gladstone.

“Queensland has a unique competitive advantage in the production of renewable hydrogen, with our proximity to Asia, established infrastructure, manufacturing capabilities and renewable energy generation,” Queensland’s renewables and hydrogen minister, Mick de Brenni, said in a statement.