A world-first pilot project which will convert Australian brown coal to hydrogen for export to Japan has been approved by the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) today.

The Australian, Japanese and Victorian governments have joined forces with a consortium of leading energy and infrastructure companies to create the Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC) project.

Australian-Japanese pilot project launched

By working together, all partners hope to put Australia and Japan at the forefront of hydrogen technologies.

The EPA today approved a research, development and demonstration (RD&D) that will investigate the potential for converting coal to hydrogen.

The trial will run for a limited duration of 12 months starting in mid-2020 within a purpose-built plant in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley converting brown coal to hydrogen, testing the viability of a combination of several existing technologies.

Located near Loy Yang’s power station, the plant will use up to 160 tonnes of brown coal from Loy Yang’s mines to produce three tonnes of hydrogen before the plant is shut down and removed from the site.

The project brings together: J-Power, a key electricity generator and distributor in Japan, and a leading player in gasification technologies; Iwatani Corporation, a leading provider of hydrogen in Japan; Marubeni Corporation, a global trading and investing business conglomerate; and AGL, Australia’s largest energy provider.

Construction of the pilot facility will commence in due course.

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