In a joint effort, Australia and Japan have started the process to create a new industry of exports, which aims to change coal, one of the most polluting sources of fuel in the world, into a clean form of hydrogen, which will end up being shipped in a liquefied form from Australia to Japan.
The experiment is set to cost approximately $350 million, and is focused on the massive low grade coal reserve present in Australia, which has been the primary source of electricity for the southern Australia state for decades. However, most of these coal fired plants are now closed over pollution concerns.
On the other hand, the process to convert coal to hydrogen has been viewed critically, as it will require extensive coal mining activity, which by itself generates carbon dioxide as a byproduct. However, if successful, the experiment is anticipated to kick start a new industry, which will replace a portion of the coal export business from Australia by hydrogen exports, which has been rapidly gaining support as a efficient source of power for industrial and automotive applications.
Process Generates Clean Power from Conventional Fossil Fuel
The endeavor by the two countries is also being supported by a number of Japanese businesses such as J-Power, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Iwatani, and Marubeni, all of whom are aiming to assist in the creation of the Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain in collaboration with the Japanese government.
The state government of Victoria and the federal government of Australia have also signed an agreement that will initiate the production of hydrogen at a now defunct power station in the Latrobe Valley, which is a rich coal source. Further, the hydrogen thus produced will be chilled at a port facility to -253 degree Celsius, to make it suitable for shipping to Japan.
The first hydrogen exports produced through this project are expected to be delivered to Japan by the end of 2020. The project is key as a number of international projects for hydrogen production have come up in recent times, as the world aggressively searches for cleaner sources of fuel.