- bp Australia commissioned feasibility report for GERI project envisions 4 GW of solar and wind power capacity for renewable hydrogen and ammonia
- On commercial scale, the project should generate 200,000 tons of hydrogen making up to 1 million tons of ammonia
- It counts government support, policy endorsement, development of hydrogen related infrastructure (refueling, roads, rail, ports and storage) and the speed of customers’ energy transition as drivers for renewable hydrogen in Australia
In May 2020, the Australian presence of global oil giant bp plc, bp Australia Pty Ltd won AUD 1.71 million funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) to support an AUD 4.42 million feasibility study to build a renewable hydrogen and ammonia production facility in Geraldton, Western Australia (see BP Wins ARENA Funding For Renewable Hydrogen).
A year down the line, the feasibility study is now complete for the Geraldton Export-Scale Renewable Investment (GERI) project. It determines the technical feasibility at scale for the project, supported by 2 GW solar and wind power each, using which renewable hydrogen and ammonia can be produced for domestic use as well as to export to international markets particularly to Japan and Korea. The company sees its joint venture with Lightsource bp as having the capability to deliver the 100% renewable energy solution for this project.
Commissioned by bp, the GHD Advisory report sees 4,000 tons of hydrogen leading to the creation of up to 20,000 tons of ammonia annually on demonstration or pilot scale with a 35.4 MW project to be powered by renewable energy. On a commercial scale, the project would deliver 200,000 tons of hydrogen making up to 1 million tons of ammonia with 1.37 GW plant capacity.
Optimizing renewable power generation against plant utilization will be key in managing costs. Choosing Geraldton in Western Australia as the location for this massive project was found to be feasible too going by its ‘world-class resources’ of wind and solar energy.
As for pricing scenarios, in the absence of any benchmark pricing for green hydrogen, the authors considered various pricing scenarios as between $1.50 per kg to $17.30 per kg, which factored in customer product delivery requirements, infrastructural support required and transportation scenarios.
It points out that at demonstration scale, the key challenges relate to securing anchor customers at an acceptable price point.
The report writers see further technology development to bring down costs and make renewable hydrogen to be competitive. In addition, the level of government support and policy endorsement, development of hydrogen related infrastructure (refueling, roads, rail, ports and storage) and the speed of customers’ energy transition from conventional energy sources are enablers for the future hydrogen industry, notes the report.
“This study determined that a clear pathway to commercial scale production exists, but like many emerging markets and technologies, there is a gap between the current customer price points in key markets and manufacturing costs,” reads the report. “This gap will need to be bridged in the future through cost reductions to enable a mature market supported by a competitively priced product.”
The feasibility report is available on ARENA’s website.
Taking a project of this massive scale would require bp to tread with caution, especially after the 26 GW Asian Renewable Energy Hub was stopped in its tracks by the federal government of Australia in June 2021 citing environment protection and biodiversity concerns (see 26 GW Wind-Solar Complex In Australia In Trouble).