Real Energy, an Australian east coast focused gas company with interests in the Cooper and Surat Basins has announced that it has established a wholly owned subsidiary, Pure Hydrogen Corporation, to undertake a detailed scoping study to assess the commercial viability of building, owning and operating a hydrogen fuel plant in Queensland.
Real Energy’s Board has been assessing the opportunities for hydrogen following the publishing of the Federal Government’s road map for Australia’s National Hydrogen Strategy in November 2019. The report is available at https://www.industry.gov.au/data-and-publications/australias-national-hydrogen-strategy. In May 2020 the Federal Government committed to invest $300 million in Australia’s emerging hydrogen industry.
Real Energy’s Pure Hydrogen Corporation has already made progress earmarking two potential sites in Queensland at which to establish a large-scale hydrogen fuel plant with a minimum annual production capacity of 36 million kilograms. A plant of this size has the ability to power 240,000 Hyundai Nexo’s for a year (1,2). Potential project sites are being reviewed in the Surat Basin, adjacent to Real Energy’s existing 50%-owned Project Venus CSG project, as well as anothersitenear Gladstone. The scoping studies will be undertaken by an experienced engineering consulting firm and a dedicated team that Pure Hydrogen Corporation will establish. The Company willalso assess eligibility for government funding.
Hydrogen is high energy fuel that can be burned with no CO2 emissions, The market is expected to grow rapidly with hydrogen likely to be used in transport particularly buses, trucks and cars, as well as to power industry generally. Recently Toyota, Hyundai, Honda, Audi, have either released models or are planning to release models that are powered by hydrogen fuel cells.
The two main ways of making hydrogen are either processing natural gas or through converting water to hydrogen through a process known as electrolysis. Real Energy’s existing gas resources could be utilised to provide gas feedstock for a natural gas to hydrogen plant. Additionally, the waste water from dewatering the coal seam gas field of Project Venus could be used to produce hydrogen.
Real Energy Managing Director Scott Brown commented:
'For some time our Board has been assessing the options for establishing a dedicated entity to assess opportunities to build a large-scale hydrogen fuel plant in Queensland. The Queensland government hasshown its commitment to supporting the development of large energy projects and this is also the case for renewable energy projects –the $2 billion lithium-ion battery cell gigafactory in Townsville being developed by Imperium3 is one such example.
'With the Federal Government also committed to this sector, we believe our investment and commitment to these scoping studies is appropriately timed and we see enormous potential to develop a hydrogen industry in Australia. We look forward to providing shareholders with regular updates as we narrow in on a preferred site.
'Whilst this is an excellent development for Real Energy, it in no way detracts from our efforts in advancing Project Venus and extracting value from our Windorah Gas Project. These projects remain important to Real Energy’s ambitions in Queensland and we expect to report on progress with respect to Project Venus very soon.'
(1) The calculation is based on the Australia’s National Hydrogen Strategy, page xv and assuming each vehicle travelled 15,000 km on average per year.
(2) The use of Hydrogen in this example would save 720 Million Kgs of CO2 compared to driving a Hyundai Santa Fe powered by diesel driving the same km.