South Korean firms to set up green energy hub in Australia

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MELBOURNE, Sept 21 (Reuters) – Three major South Korean groups said on Wednesday they hope to set up a green energy export hub in the Australian state of Queensland, with a goal of exporting one million tonnes of green ammonia annually by 2032 to produce.

The Han-Ho Hydrogen Consortium, formed Wednesday by Korea Zinc (010130.KS), petrochemical group Hanwha Impact Corp and SK Gas (018670.KS), plans to build up to 3 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy capacity in Collinsville in Queensland.

That electricity would be used to power electrolysers that split water and produce green hydrogen, which would then be used to make ammonia for export to South Korea, the Queensland government and companies said.

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The statement did not give an estimated cost for the huge project.

Green ammonia is seen as a key alternative to coal in power generation and is believed to be the best way to transport green hydrogen, which could later be used as a transport fuel as well as in steelmaking.

“We look forward to working with our partners to unlock Australia’s potential to become a large-scale producer and exporter of green hydrogen and its derivatives, including green ammonia,” said Yun B. Choi, Vice Chairman of Korea Zinc, in the statement released by the Queensland Government.

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Ark Energy, the Queensland-based clean energy arm of Korea Zinc, said the 3GW of new renewable energy capacity is key to driving down the cost of green hydrogen and ammonia, as energy costs account for about half of product costs.

“The scale is unprecedented, but it is absolutely fundamental to underpin the industrial scale production of green hydrogen as a feedstock for exporting green ammonia,” Ark Energy chief executive Daniel Kim told reporters in a livestreamed media conference .

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“There are many challenges ahead, including very prohibitive cost curves for anything hydrogen-related,” he said.

The consortium aims to make a final investment decision around 2027 or 2028, with construction expected to take about four years, Kim said.

Kim was not immediately available to comment on the estimated cost of the green energy hub.

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Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Devika Syamnath

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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