The Albanese government has announced $47.5 million in funding to fast-track the development of Australia’s biggest renewable hydrogen project to date – and one of the largest in the world – in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has conditionally approved funding through its Renewable Hydrogen Deployment Funding Round for construction of the 10MW solar powered electrolyser in Karratha, taking it to financial close by the end of the month and putting construction on track to begin next month.
The massive, $87 million project being developed by Engie Renewables Australia and Mitsui & Co will combine a 10MW electrolyser to produce renewable hydrogen, 18MW of solar PV to power the electrolyser and an 8MW/5MWh lithium-ion battery for firming.
The solar electrolyser plant will supply hydrogen and electricity to Yara Pilbara Fertilisers at its neighbouring liquid ammonia facility, with the capacity to produce up to 640 tonnes of renewable hydrogen a year once complete.
As well as receiving WA government funding, the project has been backed by ARENA once before, back in 2019 when Yara was awarded a $995,000 grant to investigate the feasibility of a renewable hydrogen and ammonia facility in the Pilbara.
Engie formed a subsidiary called Yuri to develop the project, with Mitsui agreeing to take a 28 per cent stake. Engie and Mitsui will operate the Yuri project through the joint venture company, including managing the construction and operation of the project’s solar and battery.
Ammonia production is massive contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions, producing about 500 million tonnes of carbon dioxide – or around 1.8 per cent of global CO2 emissions, similar in scale to the aviation industry.