Infinite Blue Energy (IBE) has revealed a new strategy to transition large fossil fuel users in NSW to green hydrogen to assist the state’s companies de-carbonise.
The initial target for “Project NEO” is 1GW of 100 per cent Green Hydrogen reliable baseload power via a combination of Solar PV, Wind Turbines & Hydrogen Fuel Cell Technology.
Project NEO is initially focused on providing 1GW, but the concept is scalable, and potentially able to provide a significant proportion of the region’s electricity requirement.
Traditionally, this level of electricity generation has only been achievable using coal or gas fired power stations, but Green Hydrogen is now a viable alternative.
Project NEO, which will commence with a feasibility study and detailed design over the next 18 months, is focused on transitioning the traditional reliance on coal fired and/or gas fuelled electricity to green hydrogen-generated baseload electricity.
A traditional weakness with solar and wind energy is the variability associated with a reliance on natural seasonal changes and conditions.
By converting the solar and wind energy into Green Hydrogen, it is possible to provide electricity when there is no wind, a cloudy day or limited to zero sun exposure at night via its fuel cell technology.
IBE CEO, Stephen Gauld, said the company’s vision was to show the world that Australia has the technology, skills and entrepreneurial mindset to be a true leader in the development of green hydrogen plants.
“We are currently in robust negotiations with major electricity users in the NSW Hunter Region that have confirmed their intentions to transition to Green Hydrogen baseload electricity this decade,” Mr Gauld said.
“IBE is negotiating over 1000MW of electricity currently generated by coal and natural gas to a source of Green Hydrogen baseload electricity.”
Project NEO, which is estimated to cost a total of $3.5 billion when built, generates green hydrogen with renewable wind and solar energy, which is then stored before being converted into electricity by fuel cells.
With its commitment to regional communities and encouraging further jobs through skills diversification, Infinite Blue Energy anticipates that a significant proportion of the workforce required for Project NEO will be drawn from the existing coal fired power stations in NSW, since many of the skills are similar.
“Another really exciting aspect of Project NEO is the capacity of the renewable generation which will be around 3.5GW of energy delivered from the plan,” Mr Gauld said.
“The scale and sheer potential of it is immense. To put things into perspective, that is 2.5 times greater in energy production than the recently-announced project in Western Australia by one of Australia’s largest oil and gas companies – one that’s seeking to have 1.5GW of new wind and solar capacity in Geraldton. And we are only just at the beginning.”
IBE’s base design of Project NEO is to link sites with high generation efficiencies together into an IBE distributed generation model. This allows the generation sites to blend in with existing land users with minimal impact.
The potential also exists for mine voids to be used to minimise visual impact on adjacent landowners.
How will it be used?
The introduction of additional baseload electricity generation could be used to stabilise the National Electricity Market and reduce the likelihood of catastrophic collapse. The green hydrogen can then be used to generate electricity, or used as input to other industries.
The production of steel is one identified industry that can use green hydrogen to reduce carbon debt. Green hydrogen can also be used in electronics, glass and fertiliser manufacturing.
This will support existing Australian companies in their efforts to de-carbonise, and potentially allow new industries and manufacturing to be established across NSW.
Finalising planning, development studies and offtake agreements
In Australia, 52 per cent of CO2 emissions are from stationary energy (e.g. power stations), with the majority coming from traditional coal and natural gas. Every tonne of brown coal generates 260kg of carbon.
The use of green hydrogen to generate baseload electricity generates no carbon debt and is a key strategy in reducing Australia’s carbon emissions.
Mr Gauld said the interest from Australian and international investment groups actively working with IBE to fund Australian-based green hydrogen power plants and infrastructure has been “compelling”.
“Project NEO will produce local and indirect employment, allow existing industries to de-carbonise, and facilitate the establishment of new industries, “ he said.
“It will localise manufacturing, give a 100 per cent green supply of power to NSW, fuel the reduction of the state’s carbon emissions and can therefore play a pivotal role in ultimately helping Australia become leaders in carbon emission reduction.”
Feature image: Infinite Blue Energy Team L-R: Tim Hodge, Stephen Gauld, Yolanda Zhao, Chris Burton.