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Japan’s Osaka Gas Backs $11bn Hydrogen Project in Australia

Osaka Gas said on Tuesday it will provide technical support for a $10.75bn green hydrogen project in the Australian outback and will consider investment in the Desert Bloom Hydrogen scheme


The Desert Bloom Hydrogen project, backed by Osaka Gas and Singapore-based Sanguine Impact Investment Group, will use a unique technology to suck water out of the air and solar power to split the water to make green hydrogen – hydrogen generated by renewable energy – in the Northern Territory desert. File photo: Pixabay.

 

Osaka Gas Co Ltd said on Tuesday it will provide technical support for a $10.75 billion green hydrogen project in the Australian outback and will also consider potential investment in the future.

The Desert Bloom Hydrogen project, backed by Singapore-based Sanguine Impact Investment Group, will use a unique technology to suck water out of the air and solar power to split the water to make green hydrogen – hydrogen generated by renewable energy in the Northern Territory’s desert.

Osaka Gas has agreed to contribute project management, engineering and technical support for the project, manage hydrogen sales and negotiate with equipment manufacturers, the project’s developer, Aqua Aerem, said.

“We may invest in the project in the future, but there is no concrete investment plan from our end now,” a spokesperson at the Japanese utility said, adding it will provide technical support by leveraging its expertise in gas production and hydrogen-related businesses.

“We also hope to gain new knowledge about hydrogen development through our participation in this project,” she said.

 

Project To Start Next Year

If it goes ahead as planned, the project could be the first producer of green hydrogen in Australia, planning to start up in 2023, while a raft of other projects are still running feasibility studies.

Desert Bloom will start small, using Aqua Aerem’s 2 megawatt production units, which the company says can generate water from the air, and produce heat, renewable electricity and green hydrogen.

The initial work, which the company said in December would cost A$1 billion ($743 million), will produce 1,000 kg/day of hydrogen, or 2% of the project’s full stage 1 target.

Eventually, to get to its target of 410,000 tonnes a year of hydrogen for local use and exports, the project will scale up to 4,000 modular units, driving down production costs.

“Desert Bloom will be on track to produce green hydrogen at an export price international customers want to pay – less than $2/kg within five years,” Aqua Aerem chairman David Green said in a statement.

The Northern Territory government awarded the project “major project” status in December, putting it on a fast track for obtaining approvals.

 

• Reuters with additional editing by Jim Pollard

 

 

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Jim Pollard

Jim Pollard is an Australian journalist based in Thailand since 1999. He worked for News Ltd papers in Sydney, Perth, London and Melbourne before travelling through SE Asia in the late 90s. He was a senior editor at The Nation for 17+ years and has a family in Bangkok.

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