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Victoria’s Latrobe Valley coal-to-hydrogen pilot project gets green light

A world-first pilot project which will turn brown coal from Victoria’s Latrobe Valley into hydrogen has been approved by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA).

The Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain project, spearheaded by a Japanese-led consortium, will test the feasibility of producing hydrogen from brown coal and shipping it to Japan for use in the domestic market.

The one-year project, led by Kawasaki Heavy Industries, will begin in mid-2020, with production to be handled at a plant adjacent to the Loy Yang power station.

It will use 160 tonnes of brown coal from Loy Yang’s mine to create three tonnes of hydrogen which will be shipped to Japan at a loading terminal in the Port of Hastings via a specially-designed boat.

Announced in April 2018, then-prime minister Malcolm Turnbull attended the launch of the project, which received $50 million each from the Victorian and Federal governments.

Mr Turnbull said last year that the project could provide jobs into the future, but the consortium could only proceed the commercial stage if it was able to capture and store its greenhouse gas emissions.

The consortium expects the project to generate 100 tonnes of carbon emissions during the pilot phase, which it says is equivalent to the output from 20 cars.

The EPA’s director of development assessments, Tim Faragher, said the proposal was about demonstrating that the process could work, and gathering information which could lead to a commercial project. Read more…

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