Aussie ammonia, green hydrogen 'doable': BP
BP's facility in Western Australia (WA) can produce enough hydrogen and ammonia using renewable energy to make exports of both zero-carbon energy sources technically possible, said the UK major August 11. But significant scale will be required for general hydrogen fuel use to be commercially viable, it said, following the conclusion of a study it co-ordinated with government and other entities.
BP said it would continue to work with key stakeholders on infrastructure solutions and analysis customer demand and business models for successful development.
BP said the study showed that green hydrogen was "particularly promising" in the mid-west of WA, which has the infrastructure, access to land and plenty of wind and sun. There is also strong demand from potential customers in the hard-to-abate sectors – these typically include heavy-duty transport – and for both local and export markets. "This has the potential to position Australia as a regional powerhouse of the energy transition," it said.
The Australian government has identified hydrogen as a priority technology for decarbonising indusrial processes and supported the study through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA). BP said it was confident the study would make "a valuable contribution to the government's strategy to accelerate emerging technologies." The study's other backers were GHD Advisory and Lightsource BP.
The study considered the financial and technical implications for a fully integrated renewable hydrogen and ammonia supply chain for two models: a demonstration/pilot scale plant where 4,000 metric tons of hydrogen would bond with nitrogen to make up to 20,000 mt of ammonia; and a commercial scale plant where 200,000 mt of hydrogen would yield up to 1mn mt of ammonia.
Lightsource BP considered three different hydrogen production technologies using a mix of solar and wind with some battery support. The study highlighted that, depending on the location and scale, significant additional infrastructure
investment would be required – particularly for port, electricity and water services. Distribution methods would be customised and include gaseous or liquid hydrogen or ammonia via pipeline, truck, train or ship.
GHD Advisory said: “The magic figure is producing hydrogen below $2/kg and the pathway to get there is becoming clearer. The BP study confirms feasibility of large-scale production of green hydrogen and green ammonia in Australia."
ARENA said: “BP's analysis of the economic opportunity presented by renewable hydrogen will help Australia determine how it can be scaled-up to satisfy future demand. The report represents a vital building block in our pathway to creating a fully integrated renewable hydrogen supply chain, allowing Australia to become leaders in a future export industry.”