Australia plans to convert coal power stations to hydrogen plants

Australia has been ranked one of the planet’s worst climate performers in multiple league tables

Samuel Webb
Thursday 09 December 2021 11:52
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An Australian industrial giant plans to convert two coal-fired power stations into green hydrogen plants.

Fortescue Future Industries (FFI), part of the Fortescue Metals Group, and AGL Energy (AGL) will investigate whether Liddell and Bayswater power stations in New South Wales’ Hunter Valley can instead generate green hydrogen from water using renewable energy.

The two power stations currently account for over 40 per cent of New South Wales’ carbon dioxide emissions, according to 2019 National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting data.

Fortescue made $10.3 billion in profit last year by extracting iron ore. In the same period it used 700 million litres of diesel and released 2.2 million tonnes of greenhouse gases, the New York Times reports.

Australia ranked “dead last” for the climate action taken among comparable developed countries since nations pledged in the 2015 Paris agreement to take steps to limit global warming, according to a report from the Climate Council in October.

Pending a feasibility study’s outcomes, initial renewable electricity production through new wind and solar could be 250MW, generating 30,000 tonnes of green hydrogen per year, FFI said.

FFI Founder and Chair, Dr Andrew Forrest, said: “FFI’s goal is to turn regional Australia into the global green energy heartland and create thousands of jobs now and so many more in the future.

“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.

“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.”

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