North Queensland's hydrogen future closer to reality

Government investigates development of renewable hydrogen facility at Townsville

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It could be the start of a new hydrogen industry in Queensland.

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North Queenslanders could be shipping 120,000 tonnes of renewable hydrogen to South Korea in the next decade with the Port of Townsville and Ark Energy signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) today.

Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen Mick de Brenni said a feasibility study will investigate the development of a renewable hydrogen facility focused on the transport industry at Sun Metals' zinc refinery in Townsville, along with hydrogen export facilities at the Port of Townsville.

"We've backed Sun Metals with a $5 million Hydrogen Industry Development Fund grant to kickstart hydrogen production in the north," he said.

"Now, through partnerships like this one, Queensland hydrogen will help decarbonise the world and create decent, secure jobs for regional Queenslanders.

"Our key strategic advantage in Queensland is our State-owned ports."

Government Hydrogen Champion and member for Mundingburra Les Walker said it was a major step to developing a growing industry for Townsville.

"There are potentially thousands of jobs in the hydrogen industry and Townsville is perfectly placed to take advantage of this," Mr Walker said.

Also read: Townsville Enterprise take North West trip

"Already we've seen Ark Energy's SunHQ hydrogen hub receive a grant through the Palaszczuk Government's Hydrogen Industry Development Fund last year to produce renewable hydrogen in Townsville.

"In April, the Port of Townsville signed a MOU with Origin Energy to facilitate hydrogen exports to Japan and today's agreement with Ark Energy is another exciting step to developing a local hydrogen supply chain and the jobs that will flow from it."

The initial goal is to build North Queensland's domestic hydrogen economy by supporting fleet owners to transition away from diesel to zero emission hydrogen fuel cell commercial vehicles, which can be refuelled at SunHQ.

"Ultimately our goal is to export green hydrogen to customers in Asia starting with our parent company in South Korea whose hydrogen demand could be as high as 200,000 tonnes per annum," Ark Energy Chief Executive Officer Daniel Kim

"We believe that Townsville has the potential to become a major global hub for hydrogen exports. The MOU with the Port of Townsville is an important step in our journey to investigate this exciting export opportunity, which has the potential to transform the regional economy of North Queensland."

Port of Townsville chief executive officer Ranee Crosby said Townsville, with a deep-water port and proximity to Asia, has a strategic edge to become a global hub for producing and exporting hydrogen - the energy of the future.

"This is another exciting renewable energy project for the Port as green hydrogen becomes one of the most sought-after energy products on the world market," she said.

"We believe Townsville is well placed to be at the forefront of this energy revolution, which will also boost our economic development, create new jobs and substantially reduce our carbon emissions.

"We recently released our Port Vision 2050 - our roadmap for the next 30 years - which has a strong emphasis on action for climate change.

"Facilitating the production, usage and export of green hydrogen is one of the Port's strategic goals."

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