Thursday, February 29, 2024

Japan’s $2 billion hydrogen investment in Latrobe coal

Latrobe City Council has welcomed the Japanese Government’s announcement of a A$2.35 billion investment to establish an international large-scale liquefied hydrogen supply chain to Japan.

The Council says the announcement is significant for not only Latrobe, but for the state of Victoria and Australia.

Mayor, Kellie O’Callaghan said the investment by the Japanese Government shows confidence in the world-first pilot project by partners including J-Power Latrobe Valley, a unit of Japan-based Electric Power Development Co and Sumitomo Corp, which carried out the delivery last year of the first ever liquid hydrogen shipment from southeast Australia to Kobe. 

Large-scale new investment, such as this, supports the region’s future economic growth, through the creation of new industry, as the local economy transitions from a reliance on traditional energy and manufacturing industries, the Mayor said.

As part of the joint venture, Japan Suiso Energy, plans to draw on coal as a feedstock to produce as much as 40,000 tons of hydrogen a year.

“This is a complex project and there is still some way to go in terms of approvals, design, construction and commissioning,” Japan Suiso Energy CEO, Eiichi Harada told The Japan Times.

Latrobe Mayor, Kellie O’Callaghan.

“Latrobe City is uniquely positioned with large brown coal resources and a skilled workforce, along with a long and proud history of generating electricity for more than 100 years for the state of Victoria,” said Mayor O’Callaghan.

“We have a highly skilled workforce informed by a strong capacity to adapt to new and emerging industries which provides Latrobe with a competitive edge. This combined with the region’s major energy infrastructure and a brown coal resource, which has minimal to no methane making it ideal for hydrogen production, places the Latrobe at the forefront of future hydrogen projects and a hydrogen economy.”

She said the Japanese Government’s investment will enable the pilot project to advance to a commercial demonstration project, which will likely provide wider economic benefits for the region.

“We are encouraged by the consortium of industry partners, from Japan and Australia, who have the confidence to invest in Gippsland and Latrobe.”

“We look forward to being briefed on the specifics of the investment and project and learning how this will support Latrobe’s continued transition with a coordinated approach to investment in new energy,” she said.

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