Fuelling the Future with Renewable Hydrogen

A mammoth renewable hydrogen project has recently been unveiled in Western Australia (WA), which could see Australia become a leading supplier for renewable energy in the global market.

The Murchison Renewable Hydrogen Project is a 5,000MW, combined solar and wind farm which will use those renewable energy sources to produce green hydrogen, through the electrolysis of water. WSP was engaged by Hydrogen Renewables Australia (HRA) to conduct a qualitative environmental planning assessment of the project site, located just north of the coastal town of Kalbarri and situated on Murchison House Station in WA.

 

Due to Australia’s immense sun and wind resources, available land, proximity to the Asian markets and our reliable production environment we are well placed to become a major producer and exporter of certified* green hydrogen. Japan, South Korea, Germany and China are likely to be key markets.

 

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Led by our client, Terry Kallis, Chairman of Hydrogen Renewables Australia, this project is internationally and nationally significant as there is a clear appetite for hydrogen due to the energy transition away from fossil fuels and the growing demand for hydrogen fuelled transportation.

 

According to Australia’s Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel AO, “A hydrogen export market will have important domestic spill-over benefits and opportunities for Australia. Hydrogen used as energy storage can contribute to the resilience of our major electricity systems. Long-term energy storage in micro-grid sites, such as remote mine sites, will provide for overall lower energy supply costs.

 

“Clean hydrogen technologies can also help our domestic sectors to decarbonise. Heavy vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells could meet the increasing demand for zero emissions transport, with the advantage of long range, rapid refuelling and moderate costs. Replacing natural gas with hydrogen could in many cases decarbonise direct combustion at less cost than can electrification.”

 

Sean Myers, WSP’s Regional Technical Executive - Environment says, “Hydrogen has a key role to play in an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable future for Western Australia and Australia.”

 

“As part of our work, we performed a risk and technical review of the environmental, cultural and socio-economic consequences that may materialise from the project’s feasibility, construction and operation at Murchison House Station.”

 

WSP was also engaged to prepare wind and solar energy yield estimates for the site and to determine the optimum sizing of major system components.

 

Paul Williams, Director of Power & Energy says “We are impressed by the world-class combined renewable energy resources of Murchison Station, and pleased to support HRA in progressing what has the potential to be a flagship project for the emerging hydrogen sector”.

 

HRA recently undertook preliminary discussions with key representatives of the Western Australian and Commonwealth Governments, the local Northampton Shire Council, the local Nanda Aboriginal Corporation and several other key local stakeholders. The project received favourable initial response from key stakeholders.

 

A comprehensive Hydrogen Renewables Australia communications and stakeholder engagement process with the local community commenced in Kalbarri in November 2019.

 

*Ways of certifying hydrogen as green are being developed.