Origin Energy has entered an agreement with Japanese petro-chemical group, ENEOS Corp, to investigate a hydrogen supply chain, highlighting that interest in Australia as a source of green energy continues to increase. 

ENEOS, which is a vertically integrated company, states that it is looking to develop a hydrogen supply chain sourcing large-scale supply of cost-competitive hydrogen from a variety of regions to Japan. 

Origin and ENEOS will jointly examine the potential for the reliable supply of ‘affordable hydrogen’ made with renewable energy in Queensland.

Origin will focus on the supply of renewable energy and electrolysis for hydrogen production, whilst ENEOS will focus on maritime transport and efficient production of MCH (an organic liquid that is a toxic, colourless solvent, which can be used as a hydrogen carrier; a chemical that, in its molecular structure, contains hydrogen that can be extracted at a later date). 

ENEOS states that Australia is of interest because of its, “excellent potential for cost-competitive hydrogen production due to its favorable climate conditions, including wind and sunlight, and expansive land”.

The study will examine:

  • Manufacturing of green hydrogen from renewable energy sources and splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen
  • Conversion of manufactured hydrogen into methylcyclohexane (MCH), which is often used because it is often easier and cheaper to handle than hydrogen
  • Maritime transport of MCH to Japan in tankers
  • Receipt, storage and dehydrogenation of MCH at ENEOS refineries and supply of hydrogen for industrial use at nearby thermal power plants, steel refineries and other industrial plants
  • Recycling of toluene (a by-product of extracting hydrogen from MCH) and returning it to Australia to be re-used as a component of new MCH batches 

ENEOS said in a statement that Queensland is well advanced in the development of renewable energy sources, particularly solar power. 

“The state government is promoting hydrogen industry development, leveraging these renewable energy sources. Under its own hydrogen industry strategy, the government has promptly launched various programs including establishment of the Hydrogen Industry Development Fund to support hydrogen business and develop areas dedicated to large-scale hydrogen business across the state,” ENEOS said. 

“In addition, existing infrastructure such as storage tanks, shipping and port facilities currently used for coal and natural gas can be utilised for hydrogen export.”

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