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Japan Invests US$2.35 Billion to Obtain Clean Hydrogen in Australia through Carbon Capture

published: 2023-03-28 9:30

Japan and Australia, both dedicated in hydrogen development, have unfolded multiple collaborations. The former, in order to accelerate the imports of clean hydrogen for the latter, will be investing US$2.35 billion on converting the coal of the Latrobe Valley in Victoria to clean hydrogen through carbon capture and storage.

The collaborated effort is part of the Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC), and is funded by the governments of Japan and Australia, with investments also from multiple businesses. The first liquid hydrogen carrier Suiso Frontier had also started going back and forth between Melbourne and Kobe since early 2022, which embarked the global shipping of liquid hydrogen.

The Green Innovation Fund of the Japanese government will begin operation on liquid hydrogen and shipping equipment at the Port of Hastings through the investment of Suiso Energy. Eiichi Harada, CEO of Suiso Energy, commented that the 10-year cooperation with governments of Japan, Australia, and Victoria on establishing a supply chain on clean hydrogen will now come to fruition.

Suiso Energy is a joint venture between J-Power and Sumitomo Corporation. According to the announcement, the target is to begin production on clean hydrogen through carbon capture after the 2020s at an annual supply of 30-40K tons of hydrogen each year during the preliminary phase. Partners of the project also pointed out that production could rise to 225K tons.

Jeremy Stone, non-executive director of J-Power, commented that they are currently transitioning from the early stage to mass production, and that the particular project would invigorate new job opportunities as the traditional coal industry gradually phases out. HESC had also completed its pilot phase last year by having produced 1 million tons of hydrogen at the factory next to the Loy Yang power plant, before transporting the produced hydrogen to the Port of Hastings, where it was suppressed into liquid hydrogen and was then transported to the first hydrogen-exclusive carrier in the world.

Harada admitted that the administrative process will be relatively complicated, due to the long duration from inspection to design, construction, and adjustments. However, he said that a guarantee has been assured by the Japanese government pertaining to a fund of JPY 2 trillion from the Green Innovation Fund.

Importing clean hydrogen is also another path for hydrogen development, especially helping countries of narrow and dense population, and restricted space for wind and solar equipment, such as Japan, in achieving decarbonization. With that being said, the exorbitant prices of liquid hydrogen right now, together with troublesome and risky transportation, are factors that need to be taken into account.

 (Cover photo source: shutterstock)

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