Gladstone Mayor Matt Burnett and MP for Gladstone Glenn Butcher at the Hydrogen Forum held in the city in February.
Gladstone Mayor Matt Burnett and MP for Gladstone Glenn Butcher at the Hydrogen Forum held in the city in February.

Gas company to investigate hydrogen

An Australian energy company traditionally focused on gas will investigate expanding into hydrogen at sites in Gladstone and the Surat Basin.

Real Energy has established the Pure Hydrogen Corporation to conduct a study that will assess building and operating a hydrogen plant in Queensland.

The company said project sites were being reviewed near Gladstone as well as adjacent to Real Energy's Project Venus gas venture in the Surat Basin.

Managing director Scott Brown said expanding into hydrogen made sense for the company's skill set as it and gas could be explosive.

"Yes it's different but fundamentally you have to be very careful with how you store it, use it and transport it," he said.

He said the company had begun to look into potential markets for hydrogen, particularly in transport.

Developing the required infrastructure in one location would be beneficial for bus and truck operators that typically refuel at a central depot.

The potential of an Australian hydrogen industry has been talked up by state and federal governments, independent think tanks and several energy companies, many which identify Gladstone as being well suited to benefit.

Estimates suggest an Australian hydrogen industry could create more than 8000 jobs and generate about $11 billion a year in GDP by 2050.

When announcing the $300m Advancing Hydrogen Fund this month, Energy Minister Angus Taylor said Central Queensland had good potential to support a hydrogen industry. Real Energy flagged using its resources for a gas to hydrogen plant or using waste water from the coal seam gas field of Project Venus.

Mr Brown said the board had been assessing establishing a large-scale hydrogen fuel plant in Queensland for "some time", citing support for the industry at the state and federal level.

He said updates would be provided to shareholders as the preferred site was narrowed down.

Gladstone hosted a Regional Hydrogen Forum in February and the State Government has developed a strategy for a competitive industry in Queensland.