Pilot Plant Starts Producing Hydrogen from Brown Coal
A Japanese Australian venture has begun producing hydrogen from brown coal in a AUD 500 million pilot project that aims to show liquefied hydrogen can be produced commercially and exported safely overseas. The plan is to create the first international supply chain for liquefied hydrogen and the next big step will be to ship a cargo on the world's first liquefied hydrogen carrier. The project is producing hydrogen by reacting coal with oxygen and steam under high heat and pressure in a process that also yields carbon dioxide and other gases. If the project goes commercial, the carbon dioxide would be buried off the coast of Victoria. Run by Kawasaki Heavy Industries and located in the state of Victoria, home to a quarter of the world's known brown coal reserves, the project is key to helping Japan meet its target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
The hydrogen produced in the 70 kilogrammes a day demonstration plant will be transported by trailer to a port site where it will be liquefied for export. The liquefied hydrogen carrier Suiso Frontier, built by Kawasaki Heavy Industries and due to transport its first cargo of hydrogen extracted from brown coal from Australia to Japan
Partners in the project include Iwatani Corp, Marubeni Corp, Sumitomo Corp and AGL Energy Ltd, whose mine is supplying the brown coal.
Brown coal is considered the lowest rank of coal due to its relatively low energy content and has fuelled some of Australia's dirtiest power stations, some of which have already shut or are slated for closure. Australia, already dominant in global liquefied natural gas trade, is hoping liquefied hydrogen will give it a greener market for its coal and gas.