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Unlocking North Queensland’s Hydrogen Potential

As Australia moves towards cheaper and sustainable power generation, Townsville is emerging as a vital hub for hydrogen production, with plans well underway to develop a world-leading green hydrogen industry in the region. 

The proposed North Queensland hydrogen hub is already set to produce 36,000 tonnes of renewable hydrogen every year, tapping into the region’s resources, markets and highly skilled workforce.

Port of Townsville’s Chief Operating Officer, Drew Penny, says a Memorandum of Understanding signed in April between Origin Energy and the Port of Townsville was a crucial step to the region becoming a leader in hydrogen production and export in Australia. 

“The agreement between Origin Energy and the Port reinforces Townsville as a leading location for hydrogen production,” explains Mr Penny. 

“Our region enjoys more than 320 days of sunshine and our substantial renewable energy capacity makes us the ideal location to develop this project.” 

As the global demand for hydrogen continually increases, Mr Penny says Townsville’s significant export potential to nearby Asian markets that is solidifying the region as a world class location for the project. 

“Our city is valuably placed to be able to supply hydrogen to both domestic and export markets,” continues Mr Penny. 

“The North has enormous export potential and we are ideally positioned to have great connectivity to countries like Japan and South Korea who are interested in importing renewable hydrogen from Australia.” 

The upcoming development will be a major economic stimulus for the region and is expected to build upon several established workforces and renewable energy developments in North Queensland. 

“Townsville has the expertise and the resources to be a vital link in the supply chain needed for Queensland to become a major renewable hydrogen producer and supplier,” explains Mr Penny. 

“By building up one industry, we expect this to create opportunities for expansion in other key sectors, such as wind and solar, and spark the development of additional projects in the region.” 

Mr Penny says the $232 million investment to upgrade the port channel will be crucial to guaranteeing bigger ships – up to 300m long – call at Townsville. Thus, ensuring the port remains a premier gateway for the North and capable of supporting the emerging hydrogen infrastructure. 

“The investments into the Port provide numerous growth opportunities for both existing and emerging industries, particularly hydrogen, and will be critical to the growth of Townsville and connectivity to those key international markets,” says Mr Penny. 

“Given the region’s proximity to energy resources, existing infrastructure and highly skilled workforce, Townsville has the local skills and expertise to put Queensland on the world map for hydrogen production.” 

What’s all the buzz about Renewable Hydrogen?

  • It is the most abundant chemical in the entire universe. 
  • It is one of the keys to powering heavy vehicles and entire cities with clean, renewable energy 24-hours a day. 
  • North Queensland will be able to power our electricity grid with renewable hydrogen and the only by-product is water.

By Georgie Desailly.  

Georgie Desailly

Georgie Desailly

Georgie is BDmag’s resident writer who is passionate about entrepreneurship, sustainability and regional affairs. She is preparing to study with The School of The New York Times later this year before commencing her journalism qualifications.