A study conducted by bp Australia has confirmed the technical feasibility of green hydrogen and ammonia production at export-scale in the country.

The investigation also revealed that, with its potential wind and solar resources, existing infrastructure and proximity to large, long-term markets, Western Australia is highly suited for large scale green hydrogen and green ammonia production.

With the energy industry seeing a ‘hydrogen revolution’ and many companies focusing on carbon footprint reduction, green hydrogen, produced from the electrolysis of water, is becoming a much-discussed energy source in industries that are typically difficult to decarbonise.

To help decarbonise the transport process, the combination of green hydrogen and nitrogen (from the air) creates green ammonia, a low-impact carrier for hydrogen.

Plans to develop integrated green hydrogen projects in WA will see bp working with key stakeholders to realise its renewable ambitions, in addition committing to a knowledge sharing agreement with ARENA to help progress the development and use of green hydrogen energy.

Frédéric Baudry, President, bp Australia, SVP fuels & low carbon solutions, Asia Pacific, said, “bp is putting its strategy in action by accelerating its position in low carbon technologies and providing end-to-end integrated energy solutions for our customers, including hydrogen.”

“This study confirms the potential for scaled-up green hydrogen in Western Australia. This looks particularly promising in the mid-west of WA, which has existing infrastructure, access to land and abundant renewable energy resources such as wind and solar.”

Stating that the study also confirmed strong demand from potential customers in the hard-to-abate sectors, and for both local and export markets, he also said that the results of the study have the potential to position Australia as a regional powerhouse of the energy transition.

The study itself, announced in May 2020, examined the hydrogen supply chain and domestic and export markets at two scales, a demonstration/pilot scale (4,000 tonnes of hydrogen making up to 20,000 tonnes of ammonia) and a commercial scale (200,000 tonnes of hydrogen making up to one million tonnes of ammonia).

It also considered three different hydrogen production technologies with a combination of solar, wind and battery as the plant’s power source. Results showed that additional investment in infrastructure would be necessary for certain services, dependent on the location and scale.

Commenting on the results, Darren Miller, CEO, ARENA, said, “bp’s analysis of the economic opportunity presented by renewable hydrogen will help Australia determine how it can be scaled-up to satisfy future demand.”

“The report represents a vital building block in our pathway to creating a fully integrated renewable hydrogen supply chain, allowing Australia to become leaders in a future export industry.”

For commercial viability of general hydrogen fuel use, the study revealed that both hydrogen and ammonia markets need further investment and research, as well as highlighting that distribution could be bespoke to suit the requirements of the customer.