Port Kembla Hydrogen Hub

January 13th, 2022

Port Kembla Hydrogen Hub

Development of a hydrogen hub in the Illawarra / Port Kembla region is in the concept discussions stage.

Main proponents:

The New South Wales Government is facilitating discussions among stakeholders to progress the concept of a hydrogen hub in the Illawarra / Port Kembla region

Main end-use classification:

Under evaluation – early mobility project announced

Status:

Under development – concept discussions,  early mobility project announced

Estimated cost:

 

Other involvement:

 

Production details:

 

Location:

New South Wales, Australia

Announced funding:

 

Project description

The introduction of ‘hydrogen hubs’ can reduce the cost of low-carbon hydrogen pathways by:

  • sector coupling: intelligent linking of systems and products can create new services and provide additional value
  • de-carbonising existing supply chains: locating hydrogen hubs in existing industrial areas can pave the way for the displacement of fossil fuels in a cost-effective manner
  • co-location: hydrogen production facilities located in proximity to existing resource-based industries allows cost savings through utilisation of existing infrastructure and skills and enables economies of scale to be reached quickly
  • centres for industrial and academic excellence: the creation of hydrogen hubs can attract hydrogen-based industry, innovation and academic institutions

The New South Wales Minister for Energy and the Environment has indicated that the Illawarra region is one of two key regions in the state that can benefit from becoming a green hydrogen hub (the other being the Hunter region). Hydrogen development activity in the Illawarra region is centred around Port Kembla, the principal grain export port for southern and southwestern NSW and facilitates the region’s significant steel and mining industries.

A specific objective of the Net Zero Industry and Innovation Program announced by the NSW Minister for Energy and the Environment in early March 2021 is to develop hydrogen hubs in the Hunter and Illawarra, which will be supported by at least AUD$70 million of grant funding. The development of green hydrogen hubs will also be supported by the NSW Renewable Energy Zones (REZs) under the Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap.

Development of a hydrogen hub in the Illawarra / Port Kembla region can benefit from the already considerable existing energy and related industries and associated infrastructure and skills in the area.

Development of large-scale (renewable) hydrogen production facilities would service initially domestic markets then scaling into potential export avenues through technology demonstration projects.

The New South Wales Government is facilitating discussions among several companies to progress the concept of a hydrogen hub in the Illawarra / Port Kembla region.

In March 2021, Coregas, a large Australian-owned gases company, was awarded funding in round four of the Port Kembla Investment Fund to develop a hydrogen refuelling station (for use with hydrogen-powered prime movers) at its existing hydrogen production facility embedded with the BlueScope Port Kembla steel works site. The refuelling facility is planned to be operational in the first half of 2022. The project represents a first step in support of developing Port Kembla as a hydrogen hub and in developing the broader hydrogen ‘ecosystem’ for Port Kembla and the Illawarra-Shoalhaven area.

In October 2021, BlueScope and Rio Tinto signed a Memorandum of Understanding to research and design low-emissions processes and technologies for the steel value chain across iron ore processing, iron and steelmaking and related technologies. Two priority action areas for immediate exploration are:

  • Hydrogen Direct Reduction and Iron Melter – involves, amongst other things, producing a low emissions iron feed for consumption at the Port Kembla BlueScope steelmaking facility
  • Enhancing existing processes – involves cooperation to explore the development of projects involving iron ore processing and technologies directed at reducing carbon emissions from existing iron and steelmaking processes.

In December 2021, BlueScope and Shell signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to explore and develop renewable hydrogen projects at BlueScope’s Port Kembla Steelworks facility; the collaboration encompasses two projects:

  • Pilot renewable hydrogen electrolyser plant at the Port Kembla Steelworks – involves investigating the design, building and operation of a pilot-scale 10MW renewable hydrogen electrolyser to test the use of green hydrogen in the blast furnace at BlueScope’s Port Kembla Steelworks.
  • Illawarra hydrogen hub concept – involves collaboration with other organisations to develop a “hydrogen hub” in the Illawarra region, and will explore options for hydrogen supply and offtake, renewable energy supply and hydrogen and electricity infrastructure.

 

Last reviewed: February 2022