The Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC) trial, alongside the CarbonNet Project, has the potential to assist in Victoria’s energy transition and the decarbonisation of the state’s industry and manufacturing base.
In a new Victorian Connection article, Australia’s Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel comments that having capacity to capture and store the carbon dioxide produced during the coal gasification process will mean hydrogen produced in the Latrobe Valley will be attractive to importing countries determined to decarbonise their economies.
While the HESC pilot project has an export focus, the development also presents exciting potential for Australia to develop its own domestic hydrogen energy supply. Work to expand hydrogen use domestically is underway to capitalise on this rapidly growing industry.
In talking about the HESC project, Dr Finkel said “A decision on the future of the project after the trial is likely around the mid-2020s, and it won’t proceed if it’s not cost-effective. But I’m optimistic production of hydrogen can be done competitively – we’ve seen volume-driven cost optimisation in other industries. Brown coal is attractive as the input to the process because it’s easy to access and available in very large volumes that would last hundreds of years. Also, having CarbonNet on the doorstep of the Latrobe Valley coal resource is an enabler in a decarbonised environment.”