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Woodside Petroleum unveils plans for $1 billion hydrogen and ammonia plant in Kwinana

Oil and gas giant Woodside has announced plans to build a hydrogen and ammonia production hub on government land south of Perth, sparking debate over the project’s green credentials. 

While the company and WA Premier Mark McGowan said the $1 billion project, dubbed H2Perth, would position WA as a global clean energy powerhouse, the facility was not going to be entirely ‘green’.

Mr McGowan said the facility would be built on about 130 hectares of vacant industrial land, commercially leased from the state government.

Woodside CEO Meg O’Neill said the phased development would, at full potential, produce up to 1500 tonnes of hydrogen per day for export in the form of ammonia and liquid hydrogen.

Blonde woman wearing black suit and ruffled shirt standing in front of Woodside workers controlling a robot
Woodside chief executive Meg O’Neill says H2Perth would be a landmark project, both for Woodside and WA.(ABC: Daniel Mercer)

“The land being leased from the state government in the Kwinana and Rockingham areas is ideally located close to existing gas, power, water and port infrastructure, as well as a skilled local residential workforce,” Ms O’Neill said. 

“H2Perth is designed to be net-zero emissions for both Woodside and its customers, supporting Woodside’s corporate emissions reduction targets and the Paris Agreement goals of customers in the region.”

A chart showing two different ways of producing hydrogen.A chart showing two different ways of producing hydrogen.
A comparison of production process for the “blue” and “green” types of hydrogen.(Supplied: Woodside)

Project a blend of green and blue hydrogen

The first phase of the project would produce mostly “blue” hydrogen and around a third “green”.

Blue hydrogen is still produced using fossil fuels but the carbon dioxide is captured and stored or offset, while green hydrogen is produced from electrolysis powered by renewable energy. 

In this case the hydrogen will be produced from natural gas and Woodside says 100 per cent of the project’s carbon emissions would be abated or offset.

The project is partly considered green because it would use electricity generated by renewable energy through the South West Interconnected System, which includes rooftop solar power.

“H2Perth will also facilitate substantial growth of renewables in Western Australia by providing to the grid a flexible and stabilising load that benefits uptake of intermittent renewable electricity by households and local industry,” Ms O’Neill said. 

Conservation council says ‘devil is in the detail’

Conservation Council of WA (CCWA) Policy and Legal Director Piers Verstegen said the project fell short as it would use gas, which is a fossil fuel.

A bearded man sits on a wooden bench with a backdrop of lush vegetation.A bearded man sits on a wooden bench with a backdrop of lush vegetation.
CCWA policy director Piers Verstegen has…

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2021-10-25 01:26:38

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