Aerial view of Kooragang Island

Construction of a hydrogen hub on Kooragang Island, near Newcastle in New South Wales, is set to proceed with the New South Wales Government signing a $45 million funding agreement for the build. 

The Hunter Valley Hydrogen Hub is designed to assist emissions-intensive industries to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels.

The project, led by Origin Future Fuels with funding from the Federal and New South Wales State Governments, will be a regional cornerstone of the hydrogen industry, accelerating New South Wales’ shift towards clean technologies and net zero.

The Hunter Valley Hydrogen Hub will produce green hydrogen through electrolysis (splitting water), which can be used to store energy and as a feedstock in industrial processes. The hub will initially deliver approximately 55MW of electrolyser capacity by 2026, with an aim to scale up to over 1GW of capacity over the next decade.

The hydrogen produced by the hub will be used by industry, with the majority going to Orica’s nearby ammonia manufacturing facility to help decarbonise its operations. Hydrogen will also be made available to transport customers through onsite and satellite refuelling stations.

The project will deliver up to 150 direct (construction and ongoing) jobs, and up to 65 indirect construction jobs in the Hunter.

Orica’s co-located Tertiary Abatement Plant at Kooragang Island has reached a milestone, abating the equivalent of 250,000t of carbon dioxide emissions. This is equal to removing 150,000 cars from New South Wales roads.

The plant, which is funded by the New South Wales Government and has financing from the Commonwealth’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation, will abate the equivalent of more than 500,000t of carbon dioxide per year, reducing emissions from Orica’s nitric acid manufacturing plant by 48 per cent.

The New South Wales Government is committed to growing the hydrogen sector as a future industry for New South Wales. The state has previously approved $28.5 million for the Illawarra Hydrogen Technology Hub and $35.8 million for the Good Earth Green Hydrogen and Ammonia Project in Moree.

New South Wales Minister for Energy, Penny Sharpe, said, “A green hydrogen industry in New South Wales has the potential to support 10,000 new jobs and add $6.4 billion in gross state product.

“The Hunter area is one of New South Wales’ leading industrial regions that contributes $50 billion to New South Wales’ gross state product and has a critical role to play in our state’s clean energy transition.

“Projects like the Hunter Valley Hydrogen are vital to decarbonising the industrial sector as we work towards a net zero future.

“The government is committed to investing in clean technologies which will create new jobs, business opportunities and allow New South Wales to become a clean energy superpower,” Ms Sharpe said.

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