Australian Gas Infrastructure Group advisor Vikram Singh at the Gladstone Hydrogen Forum last week
Australian Gas Infrastructure Group advisor Vikram Singh at the Gladstone Hydrogen Forum last week

Hydrogen’s green tick: Why renewables are key for new industry

Experts behind two hydrogen projects slated for Gladstone have provided insight into what the city's new industry might look like.

A $4.2 million facility will mix up to 10 per cent hydrogen with the city's gas network, and a multibillion-dollar ammonia and hydrogen production complex has been proposed for the state development area.

Renewable energy will play a key role in both initiatives.

Vikram Singh is a lead adviser for low carbon transformation with the Australian Gas Infrastructure Group.

He said the hydrogen to be mixed with the city's gas network will be made using renewable energy.

New electrolysis technology is a good match with intermittent energy sources such as wind and solar.

"That's what is so good about this technology, it's a great fit with renewable generation," he said.

The process uses electricity to make hydrogen from water, and the demonstration plant will source renewable energy from the state's electricity grid.

Mr Singh said future projects could be co-located with large solar farms.

"That's where the real benefit of lowering cost and producing low-cost hydrogen comes in," he said.

The company behind the ammonia and hydrogen production facility is H2U.

CEO Attilio Pigneri said the integration of renewable energy was key to delivering long-term price certainty.

"The economics favoured gas in the second half of last century, now with renewables going to scale, people are ­starting to look at this," he said.

Like the gas injection ­process, H2U will use electricity and water to make hydrogen.

Dr Pigneri said that given how much water is used in industrial processes, there should be enough available in Gladstone without the need for a desalination plant.

"Our preference is to effectively be a net contributor to freshwater supplies."

Ammonia will be made by combining hydrogen with nitrogen, which makes up 78 per cent of the air.