The Callide project has the capacity to establish a 3600MW solar powered hydrogen facility.
The Callide project has the capacity to establish a 3600MW solar powered hydrogen facility.

Land secured: ‘Ambitious’ hydrogen project in works

A MAJOR hydrogen project near Gladstone is in the works, with land secured in Callide that has the capacity to establish a 3600MW solar-powered hydrogen facility.

Australian company Austrom Hydrogen is behind the Pacific Solar Hydrogen project, which is in its early stages of environmental impact studies and engaging with industry stakeholders.

In a statement, the company said securing enough suitable land to be able to generate the required solar power and battery support to supply all the energy necessary for the large-scale hydrogen facility was a strategic decision.

With proximity to the power grid and the Port of Gladstone, it said the location was ideal for it to become Queensland's "new renewable power centre".

Director Tonny Jorgensen said the technology for generating hydrogen more efficiently was evolving rapidly, as was the demand for commercially produced quantities of green-powered hydrogen production.

"Along with contributing significantly to Australia's export market and economy, this project will provide thousands of jobs, boosting regional economies, and help foreign industry partners achieve their green hydrogen targets," he said.

Austrom's website claims the Pacific Solar Hydrogen project has the potential to produce more than 200,000 tonnes of hydrogen per year.

It flags the development of an "ambitious new export industry" with enough hydrogen to cover 60 per cent of Japan's hydrogen strategy by 2030.

Last month the Grattan Institute released its Start with Steel report that investigated using hydrogen and iron ore to make "green steel" without the need for metallurgical coal.

The report states that hydrogen is hard to transport.

"It must either be liquefied by cooling to minus 253C or converted into a chemical carrier such as ammonia," it said.

"To make exports viable despite the high cost of transport, Australian hydrogen would need to be substantially cheaper than that made in other countries."

Vast solar resources give Australia a competitive advantage when it comes to producing renewable hydrogen.

As an alternative, the report suggests using hydrogen and iron ore to create an onshore manufacturing industry and selling Australian-made steel overseas.

While the most viable market for Australian hydrogen remains unclear, state and federal governments are committed to investing heavily in the industry's development.

Gladstone's port, state development area and access to the grid is proving to be an attractive investment prospect.