The Port of Newcastle has partnered with Macquarie Group’s Green Investment Group and the Commonwealth Government’s Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) to support the development of a hydrogen economy in the Hunter region.
The port and Macquarie’s Green Investment Group have launched an $A3 million ($2.2 million) feasibility study into the development of a green hydrogen hub that includes the backing of an $A1.5 million ($1.1 million) funding grant from ARENA.
The proposed Port of Newcastle Hydrogen Hub will initially be underpinned by a 40MW electrolyser, and over time this will increase to a capacity of over 1GW.
The study will determine a broad and comprehensive range of potential uses for green hydrogen in the Hunter region. These include mobility, bunkering, energy production and industrial uses at a scale necessary to position the region at the centre of the emerging global green hydrogen opportunity.
The Port of Newcastle and Macquarie’s Green Investment Group has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Idemitsu, Keolis Downer, Lake Macquarie City Council, Snowy Hydro and Jemena. All of these parties will participate in the study.
“We are delighted that ARENA has decided to partner with us for this important feasibility study into the Port of Newcastle Hydrogen Hub project. We thank them for recognising Port of Newcastle’s capabilities for this important regional development opportunity,” said Craig Carmody, CEO for the Port of Newcastle.
“It makes sense for the Port of Newcastle to play substantial role in Australia’s bid to become a significant renewable exporter. With our existing access to global energy supply chains, world-class infrastructure, strong industry partnerships, proximity to the existing demand, links to domestic road and rail networks, a local highly skilled workforce and proximity to renewable energy zones, the Port of Newcastle is well placed to develop a hydrogen hub and export hydrogen as a tradeable energy commodity.
“By partnering with Macquarie’s Green Investment Group to develop the Port of Newcastle Hydrogen Hub project, we are tapping into the expertise of a world-leading renewables developer, investor and financier. Our partnership brings together local knowledge and international experience to support the diversification of the port, so that the Hunter continues to be an engine or economic growth for the region and New South Wales.
The study will also assess the sustainability of an optimal site within the port. The port’s large size and existing infrastructure allows for a range of options for developing and scaling-up hydrogen and ammonia infrastructure.
Kate Vidgen, Head of Industrial Transition and Clean Fuels at Macquarie’s Green Investment Group, added “We are delighted to be partnering with the Port of Newcastle to progress an intentionally significant green hydrogen hub and, in doing so, support the diversification of the Hunter’s economy.
“Countries around the world are actively pursuing green hydrogen opportunities but only a few projects we see have the Hunter’s attributes: a strong industrial heritage, a number of domestic and export use cases, existing high-quality transport and energy infrastructure, and a highly trained local workforce.”
The Port of Townsville has also looked to expanding into the development of green liquid hydrogen. Announced in April 2021, the port signed an MoU with Australian-based Origin Energy and Japan’s Kawasaki Heavy Industries to explore the infrastructural investments, commercial viability, and safety priorities for future generation of the zero-emission fuel.