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Japan's Sumitomo eyes green hydrogen output in Australia's Gladstone in 2023

Highlights

To produce 250-300 mt/year of green hydrogen initially

Produced hydrogen to be used in local industry, mobility, port sectors

Sumitomo also developing hydrogen supply chain in Oman

Tokyo — Japan's Sumitomo has moved forward in its planned green hydrogen project in Gladstone, Australia, following the signing of a front end engineering and design contract with JGC Holdings, with an eye on starting production in 2023.

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Under the FEED with JGC, Sumitomo said Jan. 22 it will consider building a plant in Gladstone, Queensland, to produce 250-300 mt/year of green hydrogen, from electrolysis of water using electricity from solar PV, initially with plans to expand the capacity.

Sumitomo said it sees Gladstone as a suitable site for hydrogen production and consumption because of its existing industrial infrastructure, with potential to decarbonize existing sectors and rich solar radiation with long daylight hours.

Sumitomo now aims to sign an engineering, procurement, and construction contract for the Gladstone project in 2022 in order to start the hydrogen production in 2023, a company official said.

It also plans to use the green hydrogen produced locally in Gladstone in industry, mobility and port sectors once output starts.

JGC was the first company to successfully synthesize ammonia from hydrogen produced by electrolysis of water using renewable energy sources; to generate electricity from gas turbines fueled by the synthesized ammonia in October 2018, in collaboration with Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology.

Oman Project

In a separate statement Jan. 22, Sumitomo said it aims to start in 2023 a hydrogen supply chain in Oman, together with ARA Petroleum to produce and consume blue hydrogen, following the start of a feasibility study with the Omani oil and gas company in January.

Sumitomo and ARA aim to develop a hydrogen supply chain in Oman, where ARA produces oil and gas, by using associated gas generated from oil production as well as using the "steam reforming method."

The project aims to commence 300-400 mt/year of hydrogen production in 2023, using associated flare gas generated at the site and mainly utilized as a fuel for fuel cell vehicles that ARA also plans to introduce at the site, and the captured CO2 will be effectively utilized in local industries, according to the statement.

The 20 MW solar power generation panels will be installed and used as a power source for the site and hydrogen production facilities, with Sumitomo considering expanding the model of the project both in Oman and overseas in the future.

Malaysia project

Sumitomo also signed a memorandum of understanding Oct. 23 with Japan's ENEOS and Malaysia's SEDC Energy on developing green hydrogen supply networks in Sarawak in east Malaysia, with a view to exporting.

Under the MOU, Sumitomo, ENEOS and SEDC Energy will start a feasibility study from the beginning of 2021, looking at establishing a supply chain of green hydrogen produced using power from hydroelectric power plants in Sarawak.

SEDC Energy is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sarawak Economic Development Company (SEDC), which manages energy businesses, including downstream petroleum and gas businesses.

The study will look at annual production of several tens of thousands of metric tons of green hydrogen and converting it into methylcyclohexane, which is a liquid at ambient temperature and pressure, meaning existing facilities can be used for storage and transportation using chemical tankers.

The three companies are looking at Bintulu as a planned site for the potential project because it has a large petrochemical complex, with existing facilities and infrastructure, including tanks, loading equipment, port and berths, and those can be utilized for MCH exports.

Sarawak has been selected because of its rich hydropower resources. The state has a total hydropower capacity of 3.5 GW, with plans for an additional 1.3 GW by 2025.