Argus Media Limited

12/08/2021 | News release | Distributed by Public on 12/07/2021 21:54

Australia’s FFI eyes hydrogen to replace coal plants

Australia's Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) has formed a joint venture with domestic utility AGL Energy to study the feasibility of converting two coal-fired power plants to produce hydrogen.

FFI, the renewables energy arm of iron ore producer Fortescue Metals, and AGL have agreed to a feasibility study to repurpose infrastructure at the 1,680MW Liddell in the Hunter valley region of New South Wales (NSW), which is earmarked to fully close by April 2023, along with the 2,640MW Bayswater that is forecast to close by 2036.

Initial renewable electricity production through new wind and solar capacity could be 250MW, generating 30,000 t/yr of green hydrogen at a Hunter energy hub, FFI said.

The NSW state government in October announced plans to create hydrogen production hubs in traditional coal-producing regions of the Hunter valley, which is the country's largest thermal coal producing and exporting area, and the Illawarra region that produces metallurgical coal. It also promoted hydrogen hubs around planned renewable energy zones in regional NSW.

NSW has a 2030 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction target of 50pc below 2005 levels. The Liddell and Bayswater power stations are among the most GHG-emissions intensive plants in NSW.

AGL plans to replace Liddell with an initial 150MW battery and is considering expanding this up to 500MW.

By Kevin Morrison