A giant green-hydrogen production plant is to be built in the Pilbara.
The $87 million ‘Yuri Project’ is a joint-venture between French company ENGIE, and local company Yara Pilbara Fertiliser.
And, the Australian government is throwing in a grant of $47.5 million, as part of ARENA’s Renewable Hydrogen Deployment Funding Round.
It will be Australia’s largest green hydrogen production facility, and one of the largest in the world, and the 10 MW electrolyser will be 10 times bigger than the largest existing green hydrogen facility in Australia.
It will be designated as renewable (green) hydrogen because the electrolyser will be powered by 18 MW of solar panels, and an 8 MW lithium-ion battery system.
While hydrogen has a range of uses, the deal with Yara Fertilizer will see it used to produce ammonia, and reduce the carbon emissions from fertilizer production.
Ammonia is very carbon intensive to produce, some estimates suggest global ammonia production produces the same GHG emissions as the aviation sector.
According to ARENA, ammonia production accounts for between 70 to 80% of industrial hydrogen use. And it accounts for some 500 million tonnes of CO2 emissions each year, or 1.8% of global emissions.
The Yuri plant will only displace a small amount of the Yara Pilbara Fertilizer plant’s output, but it will be a test case for the potential of decarbonising the ammonia production process.