Pilbara region

Yara Pilbara Fertilisers Pty Ltd (Yara) has received $995,000 from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) to support a feasibility study for the production of renewable hydrogen and ammonia.

The feasibility study will explore the potential to make green hydrogen work at industrial scale at Yara’s existing ammonia production facility in the Pilbara region, Western Australia.

Yara will investigate producing renewable hydrogen via electrolysis powered by on-site solar PV. The renewable hydrogen produced will displace 30,000 tonnes per year of hydrogen which Yara currently derives from fossil fuels. 

The blended hydrogen will subsequently be converted to ammonia with a lower carbon footprint and sold for further processing into domestic and international markets. The study will also investigate using seawater for electrolysis.

In the long term, Yara is aiming to produce hydrogen and ammonia entirely through renewable energy. The study will be the first step on the path to achieving commercial-scale production of renewable hydrogen for export.

Yara currently produces and exports approximately five per cent of the world’s ammonia production out of its existing facility in the Pilbara. The project will utilise Yara’s established trade partnerships and market expertise to export renewable hydrogen as ammonia from Western Australia.

Yara will collaborate with global energy company ENGIE to deliver the feasibility study. ENGIE has a dedicated hydrogen business unit focused on developing industrial-scale renewable-based hydrogen solutions in international markets.

ARENA Chief Executive Officer, Darren Miller, said the feasibility study is another step to decarbonising the mining and ammonia production sectors in Western Australia.

“Hydrogen has huge potential as a fuel of the future, and as a potential energy export for Australia,” Mr Miller said.

“Yara’s project will offer great insight into how Australia’s current ammonia producers can transition away from the use of fossil fuels towards renewable alternatives for producing hydrogen while continuing to leverage the substantial export capabilities that those companies have already established.”

Charlotte Pordage is Editor of Utility magazine, a position she has held since November 2018. She joined the team as an Associate Editor in October 2017, after sharpening her writing and editing skills across a range of print and digital publications. Charlotte graduated from Royal Holloway, University of London, in 2011 with joint honours in English and Latin. When she's not putting together Australia's only dedicated utility magazine, she can usually be found riding her horse or curled up with a good book.

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