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Queensland’s hydrogen industry is growing rapidly, with major hydrogen projects in development in Greater Springfield and the Port of Townsville. 

Greater Springfield is soon to be home to Australia’s first hydrogen fuel cell manufacturing facility, and the Port of Townsville has recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Edify Energy to investigate exporting hydrogen through the port.

Australian energy technology company LAVO Hydrogen Technology Limited will establish the $15 million Greater Springfield facility, The LAVO HESS (Hydrogen Energy Storage System).

The LAVO project is backed by the Queensland Government’s Invested in Queensland program, part of the $3.34 billion Queensland Jobs Fund. 

QLD’s hydrogen fuel cell facility boosting jobs 

The LAVO HESS is an integrated hybrid hydrogen battery that can be combined with rooftop solar to store 40kWh of electricity – enough energy to power a typical household for two days.

Queensland Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment, Cameron Dick, said construction of the new facility will begin in early 2022 and is expected to be delivered by the end of the year.

“This is one of the first projects to receive support through our Invested in Queensland program, and the jobs to come from this are significant,” Mr Dick said.

“Up to 200 construction jobs will be created over the next 12 months, and once fuel cell production ramps up there will be almost 170 operational jobs supported here by 2026.

“The fuel cells will be used in the world’s first hydrogen energy storage system for homes and businesses, developed in Australia by LAVO and the University of New South Wales.

“LAVO’s hydrogen technology has generated considerable customer interest here in Australia and overseas, and this new facility will allow the company to export Queensland-made products to the world.”

Mr Dick said partnering with companies like LAVO is part of the government’s COVID recovery plan to propel Queensland’s next phase of economic growth.

“By supporting this sort of innovation and unlocking greater private investment, we expect to create 5,000 jobs over the life of the Invested in Queensland program,” Mr Dick said. 

“We welcome LAVO to Queensland, and the new generation of employment opportunities this hydrogen manufacturing facility will bring to our state.”

Queensland Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen, Mick de Brenni, said the announcement is a major step towards the development of an economically sustainable and competitive hydrogen industry in Queensland.

“With groundbreaking projects like this and the recent announcement by Fortescue Future Industries to establish one of the world’s largest hydrogen equipment manufacturing facilities in Gladstone, Queensland is on track to become a global hydrogen superpower,” Mr de Brenni said.

Trade and Investment Queensland has also been working with LAVO for the past two years, assisting in early negotiations to attract the company to Queensland.

CEO and Executive Director of LAVO, Alan Yu, said the company is excited to be manufacturing the fuel cells here in Australia under a joint venture agreement with Netherlands-based Nedstack, developer of the fuel cells.

“Through our research and development, we are taking existing fuel cell technology and introducing integrated solutions to make hydrogen possible for everyday use and for a much wider audience,” Mr Yu said.

“We will be working to maximise the use of local suppliers in the manufacturing process and will be supplying both domestic and international markets across the residential, off-grid, telecommunications and commercial sectors.

“The Queensland Government’s strong commitment to the development of the hydrogen industry really attracted us here.

“Support we’ve received from Springfield City Group was also a key factor to locate our manufacturing facility to Queensland.”

Assistant Minister for Hydrogen Development, Lance McCallum, said the burgeoning industry presented huge prospects for the state.

“Local hydrogen development means more local jobs, and our government is proud to be leading the charge in this space,” Mr McCallum said.

Townsville’s bid to become a renewable hydrogen powerhouse

The signing of the MoU follows Edify’s recent development approval to build and operate a renewable hydrogen production plant with up to 1GW electrolyser for 5,000-150,000 H2 tonnes per year of renewable hydrogen at the Lansdown Eco-Industrial Precinct, 46km south of Townsville.

“We are positioning Queensland as a global powerhouse for clean energy exports and the descent, secure jobs that will create for Queenslanders,” Mr de Brenni said.

“Renewable hydrogen will boost construction, utilities, heavy manufacturing, and a range of local service industries.

“That equals more jobs in more regional industries in Townsville and across the state.”

Mr McCallum said Queensland is fast becoming a renewables superpower.

“Our publicly owned ports are essential to exporting our renewable hydrogen to the world,” Mr McCallum said.

Member for Mundingburra and Hydrogen Champion, Les Walker, said agreements like this positioned Townsville as a green hydrogen powerhouse.

“Townsville is well placed to take advantage of this growing industry, particularly as the world looks toward alternative energies,” Mr Walker said.

“We have the facilities at the Port of Townsville to export hydrogen, our workers have the skills and the city is primed to take advantage of the new jobs which will come from this emerging industry.

“This announcement also shows the importance of the Lansdown Eco-Industrial Precinct which is why the Palaszczuk Government is investing in the site.”

Member for Thuringowa, Aaron Harper, welcomed the agreement between Edify Energy and the Port of Townsville.

“This agreement, among a number of others the Port of Townsville has signed, shows the confidence major companies have in the potential for hydrogen in the city,” Mr Harper said.

“As a government we’re backing the hydrogen industry because we know there are huge opportunities in this emerging industry and it will create new jobs.

“That’s why the Palaszczuk Government is investing in the $232 million channel upgrade at the Port of Townsville, because we know there are real opportunities to grow the port and bring new industries to the city.”

Edify Chief Executive Officer, John Cole, said Townsville’s existing infrastructure and industry was well placed to establish a renewable hydrogen production and export industry. 

“We are excited to be working with the Port of Townsville and other project proponents in the region. This MoU is another milestone for our project on its path to exporting renewable hydrogen and for Townsville’s journey to establishing sustainable long-term jobs and industry,” Mr Coles said.

“Using a renewable energy source to produce large-scale green hydrogen means Townsville will be perfectly poised to be North Queensland’s hydrogen hub and export capital on the east coast. 

“This is where future proofed jobs are created, new skills are learned, existing industries and infrastructure leveraged, manufacturing and communities thrive.”

Port of Townsville Chief Executive Officer, Ranee Crosby, said North Queensland is uniquely positioned to play a leading role in the world’s growing demand for hydrogen, presenting significant opportunities for the region.

“Hydrogen made with renewable energy is completely carbon free and is a flexible energy carrier that can power almost anything that requires energy,” Ms Crosby said. 

“This versatility, partnered with Townsville’s global connectivity and highly-skilled workforce, represents boundless opportunities to align the North’s economic prosperity with global ambitions to transition to a clean energy future.

“The port recently released our Port Vision 2050 – our roadmap for the next 30 years – which has a strong emphasis on action on climate change and committing to a climate positive future.

“Facilitating the production, usage and export of green hydrogen is one of the port’s key strategic goals.”

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