The Queensland government has announced that a proposed $4.7bn green hydrogen and ammonia complex in Gladstone is a step closer to reality, paving the way for the region’s transformation into a clean energy powerhouse. The H2-Hub™ Gladstone project has been granted coordinated project status, with the announcement of a strategic partnership agreement between developer The Hydrogen Utility (H2U) and mining and infrastructure giant Orica.
The proposed project will see the construction of a world-class facility that will use 100 per cent renewable energy from new-build Queensland solar and wind resources to produce green hydrogen and green ammonia. The project has a planned capacity of up to 3 gigawatts of electrolysis and up to 5,000 tonnes per day of green ammonia production.
Getting Gladstone Back on its Feet
The H2-Hub™ Gladstone project, along with other new economy and climate transition projects, is being seen as a key part of the region’s economic recovery following years of economic downturn.
Less than a decade ago, Gladstone was in the midst of an unprecedented mining boom, with billions of dollars being pumped into LNG export facilities and an influx of FIFO workers who drove up demand for housing and services. However, when the global commodities market crashed in 2016, the work dried up along with the flow of money. Gladstone accused of “placing all of its eggs in one basket” was left with an oversaturated property market, plummeting rental prices and a surging unemployment rate.
The Queensland government is now betting on Gladstone’s ability to become a “clean energy powerhouse”, with Deputy Premier Steven Miles saying the investment in renewable projects will create jobs and opportunities for locals, while protecting the environment.
“H2U and Orica estimate the H2-Hub™ Gladstone project has potential to create over 550 jobs during construction, over 140 ongoing operational jobs and approximately 1,900 indirect jobs, and attract a $4.7 billion investment during its phased construction,” Mr Miles said.
“Commitments like this help to propel Central Queensland towards becoming a clean energy powerhouse, as part of Queensland’s plan for economic recovery”.
State minister for regional development and Gladstone MP, Glenn Butcher, agreed, saying central Queensland was positioning itself as a “renewables powerhouse”.
“These partnerships are highlighting the benefits of investing into Queensland’s regions and creating jobs for the future,” Mr Butcher said.
Partnership a “Critical Milestone” For H2-Hub Gladstone Project
Under a Memorandum of Understanding, H2U and Orica will develop a master plan study to explore opportunities for an exclusive domestic green ammonia offtake and supply agreement. The potential agreement would see green ammonia supplied directly to Orica’s Yarwun manufacturing plant from H2U’s proposed Yarwun green ammonia production plant.
Mr Butcher said the partnership will also see Orica and H2U explore opportunities for a potential green ammonia export terminal at the Port of Gladstone.
Orica President Australia Pacific and Asia, Germán Morales, said the company has a long history in Gladstone and is committed to ensuring the region remains competitive in a lower carbon economy, while creating more sustainable products for customers and opportunities across new industries.
H2U Founder and Chief Executive Officer Attilio Pigneri was delighted with the partnership, saying securing participation from one of the leading players in the domestic ammonia industry is a huge vote of confidence in the project.
“We look forward to working with Orica, the Port of Gladstone, and the Queensland Government to establish Gladstone as a globally leading hub in the emerging green hydrogen and green ammonia export market, and to secure new long-term jobs and economic growth for Central Queensland.”
The master plan study will run for approximately six months with front-end engineering and development approval activities scheduled to commence at the back end of 2022.