Port of Townsville and Origin Energy confirm MoU for hydrogen development

The mouth of the Ross River, looking towards the Townsville Port, at sunrise. Townsville, Queensland, Australia

The Port of Townsville and Australian energy company Origin Energy have signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to develop hydrogen technologies at the deep water port.

The MoU will investigate the scalability of hydrogen capabilities and how quickly it will grow from semi-commercial production, through to large-scale production to supplant the growing global demand for hydrogen, said Port Townsville CEO Ranee Crosby.

Since late 2019, Origin Energy and Japan’s Kawasaki Heavy Industries have been working on a 36,500 tonnes per annum (tpa) export liquid hydrogen project.

The MoU will add the port to the project. Townsville is ideally placed to develop a liquid hydrogen due to its deep water port, industrial-zoned land, availability of skilled workers, and nearby renewable and sustainable water resources with more than 320 days of sunshine per year.

Transport Minister and Acting Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen Mark Bailey said today’s milestone demonstrated the critical role Queensland’s publicly owned ports are playing in the state becoming an international hub for hydrogen industry and jobs.

“Our state already has a strong international reputation,” Bailey said.

“We’re a leading energy exporter and the world is now looking to Queensland as a leading producer of hydrogen as the next energy source.

“The Port of Townsville is already well positioned as a major goods hub of the North and upgrades will have it ready for additional future capacity.”

Premier of Queensland Government Annastacia Palaszczuk said the MoU signed highlights North Queensland’s importance as a vital link in the supply chaiun needed for Queensland to become a major renewable hydrogen producer and supplier.

Palaszczuk added the Government has injected an AUD$232 million ($180 million) upgrade of the port channel, AUD$40 million ($31 million) Berth 4 upgrade, and AUD$48 million ($37.2 million) intermodal facility to ensure the port “remains a premier gateway” for the north.

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