Part of “carbon negative” hub plan for hydrogen and ammonia unveiled for Bundaberg – pv magazine Australia

A new joint venture between Australian firm Clean Holdings private limited and Singapore-based CAC-H2 will see hydrogen and ammonia produced in Queensland’s agricultural hub in Bundaberg. The plan is to produce enough green fuel for home use and for export, Clean Holdings chief executive Ken Mathews said. fashion magazine the long-term vision is to replicate the project model in several deep-water ports along the country’s east coast.

The companies aim to attract more than $ 400 million in investment in the project, which at this point will involve the use of agricultural waste as a raw material (Bundaberg is one of Australia’s largest sugarcane producers) to gasify and thus produce hydrogen.

CAC-H2, which provides the gasification technology for the project, says its method is carbon negative because it generates hydrogen from materials that sequester carbon, leaving it with a biochar byproduct that can then be reused in agriculture.

Importantly, Mathews says the scope of the Bundaberg project will soon expand with the announcement of an additional partner and technology component. Details are expected to be made public in the weeks, if not days, to come.

Port Kembla has been identified as a potential site for a green hydrogen production center, with Clean Holdings also seeking to develop a project there.

Image: Wollongong City Council

As part of the project, the companies are seeking to build a deep-water quay at the port of Bundaberg specifically for the large-scale export of green hydrogen and its more condensed derivative, ammonia, to Japan and Korea. South. The project plans to produce 30,000 metric tonnes of ammonia per year.

Mathews said he intends to become one of Australia’s largest ammonia producers and exporters, with his company Clean Holdings being part of a larger consortium with ties to Asia and vast ambitions.


If it felt like the CAC-H2 had just popped up out of nowhere last month, that’s because it was. Good type of. The company is itself a joint venture, the meeting of the Malaysian gasification company and EPC Renewables Plus and CannAcubed, the manufacture of Australian-based Glenn Davies.

While CAC-H2 is officially based in Singapore, Arman Massoumi, its chief energy officer, said the company was formed for the sole purpose of developing hydrogen projects in Australia. At the helm of the company are himself and Australian Glenn Davies.

The CAC-H2 was not formalized until shortly before the announcement of its first project in September. Partnering with Sweetman Renewables, the couple plan to produce hydrogen in New South Wales’s Hunter Valley, in what will be the country’s first hydrogen biomass plant.

Gasification to produce hydrogen

While the application of CAC-H2 technology is new, the process itself is not. Gasification, including to produce hydrogen, has been around for decades, but typically uses fossil fuel feedstocks like coal. The CAC-H2, for its part, seeks to enhance the residual biomass.

Its gasification facilities can use any plant as a raw material and are modular in design, with Massoumi describing them as a “miniaturization” of the established facilities.

Many have questioned the classification of biomass as a “renewable energy source”. Technically, the energy generated by its combustion is classified as net zero, although the reality is much more complicated.

Sweetman Renewables

Importantly, says Massoumi, the company’s technology does not burn biomass (burning wood, of course, releases carbon dioxide), but instead gasifies it in the absence of oxygen.

“We get wood and gasify it, or we get corn on the cob or cannabis, whatever, you get a gas which is a combustible gas containing 20% ​​hydrogen. We then separate the hydrogen from this gas… so you remove the desired part, ”said Massoumi. pv magazine Australia.

Along with hydrogen, the units produce nitrogen (50%) and carbon dioxide (20%). Massoumi said the company will likely release nitrogen into the atmosphere because it has low market value, while the CO2 will be emitted “in an agricultural greenhouse” or otherwise used or sequestered.

Despite these two greenhouse gas by-products, Massoumi is convinced that the company’s process is still carbon negative thanks to its biochar. Biochar is essentially charcoal and contains a large part of the carbon sequestered by its source plant. Biochar is increasingly in demand for agriculture, used to build soil and help it retain water.

This valuable by-product, according to Massoumi, means CAC-H2 processes are “greener than green,” the executive declaring that for every ton of biochar, the equivalent of 3.67 tons of carbon dioxide is sequestered . After the release of carbon dioxide and nitrogen during gasification, Massoumi claims that the final “carbon reception” of the company’s process is reduced to around 2.5 to 3 tons of sequestration, which still places it firmly in the dark. (That is, as long as no one tries to burn the biochar.)

Cheaper than electrolysis

Hydrogen produced by gasification, says Massoumi, is also cheaper than that produced by electrolysis. In fact, the company is confident it can hit Australia’s ambitious second-half goal for $ 2 before 2030.

“We consume a third of the electricity from electrolysis,” explains Massoumi, adding that his raw material of wood waste or agricultural waste is either free or the company is paid to take it. On top of that, the project can then sell the biochar it produces. “As a result, we don’t just rely on one source,” says Massoumi.

Closed loop

This loop through which the project takes the region’s abundant agricultural waste (most likely sugarcane) and produces hydrogen with a biochar by-product which then returns to agricultural production is something its developers have been waiting for, which will make the proposal very attractive.

Indeed, Bundaberg has already started experimenting with biofuels and colocation, its council championing the development of the city’s bioHub. Ken Mathews of Clean Holding ended up in Bundaberg himself at the request of the local government in the area. “Bundaberg, we got involved there initially because the ex-mayor contacted us,” said Mathews. fashion magazine back in June. He said he was invited to Bundaberg, shown around and encouraged to step up the ambition of his project – which was in fact accelerated by the Queensland general coordinator. “When we went, [the project] was going to be a small example, but he grew up really quickly, ”he said.

Bundaberg is keen to compete with its neighbor Gladstone, which has been designated by the federal government as the state’s hydrogen power plant.

Future of the ammonia & hydrogen hub

Construction of the new hydrogen and ammonia facility is expected to begin “as soon as possible”, with the companies saying the first hydrogen production could take place as early as December 2022. fashion magazine will report on the progress of project details as soon as they are made public.

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