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Hunter Valley Hydrogen Hub

About the hub

The Hunter Valley Hydrogen Hub is a leading East Coast proposal and well-placed to be the earliest demonstration of success for large-scale hydrogen projects.

Orica is partnering with Origin Energy to develop the Hunter Valley Hydrogen Hub (HVHH) at Kooragang Island which proposes to deliver a safe, reliable, and commercial-scale hydrogen supply chain in the Newcastle industrial and port precinct.

The proposed facility will produce renewable hydrogen via electrolysis using recycled water, renewable electricity and a grid-connected ~60MW electrolyser. While modest in size, the facility is designed to be scaled up through subsequent phases.

Renewable hydrogen manufactured at the hub will be used to progressively replace natural gas in our site’s production of low-carbon ammonia and ammonium nitrate – crucial products for many businesses across NSW including the mining, agriculture, health, and food industries.

Strong partners

Our partnership with Origin provides one of the fastest routes to establishing a robust, domestic renewable hydrogen industry.

Orica is one of the world’s leading mining and infrastructure solutions providers. From the production and supply of explosives, blasting systems, mining chemicals and geotechnical monitoring, to innovative digital solutions, Orica sustainably mobilises the earth’s resources. Operating for nearly 150 years, Orica’s 12,000+ global workforce supports customers across surface and underground mines, quarry construction, and oil and gas operations.

Origin is one of Australia’s leading integrated energy companies, powering more than four million homes and businesses throughout Australia with electricity, gas, LPG and hot water. With more than 5,200 employees across generation, retail, exploration and production and a growing interest in future energy and data-driven services, Origin’s ambition is to lead the transition to lower emissions by connecting customers to the energy and technologies of the future.

Towards net zero

The HVHH will play a key role in Orica’s decarbonisation journey and help us to achieve our ambition of net zero emissions by 2050. 

Hydrogen is an essential component in our manufacture of ammonia. Right now, we derive our hydrogen from natural gas (a fossil fuel), and the by-product is carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas). Orica has been producing and using this ‘grey hydrogen’ in its ammonia plant on Kooragang Island safely, for over 50 years.

In phase one of the HVHH project, we will take up to 80 per cent of the renewable hydrogen produced at the hub, which will be piped directly to our ammonia plant and displace around seven per cent of our natural gas consumption.  This will result in an emissions’ reduction of approximately 52,000 tCO2-e per annum.

Not only will this move help to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, but it will also free up domestic gas supply for Australian households.

Compelling advantages

We view this project is a front runner in the Australian renewable hydrogen and low-carbon ammonia manufacturing market.

The HVHH will be located 550m north of our manufacturing facility on Kooragang Island, which provides clear competitive advantages. It will have direct access to our ammonia plant – the only one operating on Australia’s east coast that is adjacent to a deep-water port. 

It’s also in close proximity to the Port of Newcastle’s Clean Energy Precinct. Orica and Origin have a Memorandum of Understanding for exploring potential future clean energy projects.

Future-proofing our region

We believe the ambition for a thriving renewable hydrogen and low-carbon ammonia industry with export potential is within reach.

We aim to be a leading player in Australia’s renewable hydrogen, low carbon ammonia economy. 

Renewable hydrogen production will help diversify the energy mix in our region, provide employment growth opportunities and offer a low-carbon energy source.

We are deeply committed to future-proofing our manufacturing, jobs and economies; maintaining supply chain sovereignty, while also supporting our customers to achieve their sustainability goals. Collaboration with government, community, industry, academia, and commercial partners will be critical to the Hunter Valley Hydrogen Hub’s success.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much renewable hydrogen will Orica take from the Hub?

Orica will nominally take around 80 per cent of the hub’s renewable hydrogen output, which is estimated to be approximately 12 tonnes per day.

How will Orica use the renewable hydrogen?

Orica will use the renewable hydrogen to replace natural gas in the manufacture of low-carbon ammonia.

Will Orica be storing the renewable hydrogen or using it as it's delivered?

Orica will be using the renewable hydrogen as it’s delivered. It will be introduced to the back end of the ammonia plant into the synthesis gas (syngas) loop. Syngas is a hydrogen and nitrogen mix that is passed through converters to produce ammonia.

How much natural gas will be displaced with renewable hydrogen in this arrangement?

Twelve tonnes per day of renewable hydrogen will displace around seven per cent of our daily natural gas demand. This equates to  the average gas consumption of approximately 50,000 NSW homes.

Will the ammonia plant need to be modified in any way?

There will be a requirement to make minor modifications (tie-ins) to the ammonia plant in order to introduce the renewable hydrogen to the syngas loop.

Will these changes pose a risk to the community or the environment? 

The Orica Kooragang Island site has been producing and using grey hydrogen (that is, hydrogen produced by reforming natural gas) for more than 50 years and has never had a hydrogen safety related incident. This project is about replacing grey hydrogen with renewable hydrogen and is intended to achieve a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

The site holds a Major Hazard Facility licence and is heavily regulated by both SafeWork NSW and NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA). In addition, the site has stringent safety systems, practices, and procedures in place, including a robust Emergency Response Plan.

Stay up to date?

If you have any questions, concerns, or would like more information about the Hunter Valley Hydrogen Hub project on Kooragang Island, please contact our project team.

Phone: 1800 066 243
Email: [email protected]