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New Energy Insights: Bulletin – New dawn of green ammonia in the Land of the Rising Sun – will Australia see the light?

This article is part of our New Energy Insights series from our Energy, Infrastructure and Resources team. Stay tuned for regular updates and commentary on topical issues across the sector.

In Japan, a grant application made by JERA Co Inc and IHI Corporation to conduct a demonstration project under the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization’s "Development of Technologies for Carbon Recycling and Next-Generation Thermal Power Generation / Research, Development and Demonstration of Technologies for Ammonia Co-Firing Thermal Power Generation" program has been accepted (Project).

The Project will be the world’s first demonstration project in which a large amount of ammonia will be co-fired in a large-scale commercial coal-fired power plant. The Project will support Japan’s strategy of converting power capacity to green ammonia fired instead of natural gas or coal.

The Project provides Australia with an opportunity to develop an ammonia export industry.

Ammonia is an efficient and low-cost alternative to transporting and storing hydrogen. Liquifying hydrogen for transport uses up 30% of its contained energy, and then the liquid form needs to be stored at minus 250 degrees celsius. 

Australia should take this opportunity to use its existing and future hydrogen infrastructure to produce ammonia and export it internationally. This will help place Australia as a major exporter of green hydrogen and help to build the industry’s long-term commercial viability.

“If we don’t fund green hydrogen projects now, just like solar we will miss the export and innovation boat,” says Veno Panicker.

“Hydrogen will enable the international trade in renewable energy the way hydrocarbons are traded today, and thereby become the energy export commodity of the future. This disruption will forever change global energy markets with lasting geopolitical implications. Australia and the entire Asia-Pacific region will be critical players in these developments as both exporters and importers of hydrogen” says Matt Baumgurtel.

To read more about ARENA’s recent announcement to fund three commercial-scale hydrogen projects, click here.

Veno Panicker is the lead Construction and Infrastructure partner within Hamilton Locke’s Energy Infrastructure and Resources team and has a strong track record in EPC contracting and the delivery of EPC projects across Australasia, including adjudication, litigation and arbitration.

Alice Mason is a solicitor specializing in Construction and Infrastructure within Hamilton Locke’s Energy Infrastructure and Resources team.