FFI and AGL to repurpose coal-fired power plants to generate green hydrogen

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Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) and AGL Energy (AGL) have decided to repurpose the Hunter Valley’s Liddell and Bayswater coal-fired power stations to generate green hydrogen from water, using renewable energy.

According to the 2019 National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting figures, these power facilities currently account for approximately 40% of New South Wales’ carbon dioxide emissions.

The successful repurposing of these sites will help NSW accomplish its goal of halving emissions by 2030.

It will also demonstrate the importance of green hydrogen in decarbonizing and demethanizing electricity and industry in Australia.

According to FFI Founder and Chair, Dr Andrew Forrest, FFI’s mission is to transform regional Australia into a global green energy heartland.

“Repurposing existing fossil fuel infrastructure with forward looking companies like AGL to create green hydrogen to help power the world, is the solution we have been looking for. Green hydrogen is the only true zero-carbon, zero-methane fuel – every other type of hydrogen requires the burning of fossil fuels,” Dr Forrest said.

“It is a practical, implementable solution that can collapse emissions and create strong economies worldwide if leaders like Graeme are fully supported by global investors and local government alike. This is another important step in turning the corner once and for all, to implement the technologies carbon emitters, like us, to reach net zero.”

As part of the non-binding Memorandum of Understanding between FFI and AGL, the two companies will undertake a feasibility study and pending on its outcomes, initial renewable electricity production through new wind and solar could be 250MW, generating 30,000 tonnes of green hydrogen per year or “enough for a hydrogen fuelled truck to drive to the moon and back five times”.

In addition to export prospects, the feasibility study will also determine whether green hydrogen can be used to fuel co-located enterprises.

“It’s clear that green hydrogen has a critical role to play in our future energy mix and we are excited to explore this proposed development which will showcase AGL’s generation expertise alongside FFI’s leading development of green hydrogen in Australia,” said AGL Managing Director and CEO, Graeme Hunt.

“As early investors in wind and other renewables, we want to continue our long history of support for the development of new technologies, including Australia’s emerging hydrogen industry. The proposed development plays a significant role in AGL’s plans for an integrated industrial ‘Hunter Energy Hub’ which would be powered by clean energy, delivered through grid-scale batteries, solar thermal storage, wind, pumped hydro and the co-location of industry.”

The news, according to the companies, confirms Australia’s ability to become a worldwide green hydrogen superpower, while also creating jobs and supporting regional economies.

Last month FFI, announced its first Global Green Energy (GEM) Manufacturing Centre in Gladstone, Queensland.

Image credit: https://www.agl.com.au/about-agl/how-we-source-energy/agl-macquarie