South Australian Government Selects ATCO Australia and BOC Consortium for World’s Largest Hydrogen Production Facility
The South Australian Government has announced that it has chosen a consortium comprised of ATCO Australia and BOC, a Linde company, to develop what is being touted as the “world’s largest hydrogen production facility” and hydrogen power plant near Whyalla, South Australia. The project, which is estimated to cost A$593 million or US$376 million, was highly competitive, with 29 companies vying for the contract, including Fortescue Future Industries, owned by billionaire Andrew Forrest. ATCO and BOC were selected for their extensive operational expertise and experience in the hydrogen sector, having operated in South Australia for over six decades.
Under an Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) agreement with the State Government, the ATCO Australia and BOC consortium will work collaboratively on the project. Their responsibilities will include detailed project and engineering design, procurement of essential equipment, finalization of contracting arrangements, and cost estimations. The facility is expected to commence operations in 2026.
Peter Malinauskas, the Premier of South Australia, expressed excitement about the collaboration, stating, “We have all the things the world will need to decarbonize – abundant copper and magnetite, the world’s best coincident wind and solar resources, world-leading renewable energy penetration and soon, the ability to harness this abundant clean energy in the form of hydrogen.” South Australia aims to generate 100% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030, while the entire country has pledged to reduce carbon emissions by 43% by 2030 and achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
The hydrogen production facility will have a capacity of 250 MW, while the hydrogen-fueled electricity generation facility will have a capacity of 200 MW. These facilities are integral to South Australia’s hydrogen vision. The government will own the facilities, with funding of US$376 million from South Australian taxpayers. ATCO Australia, one of the preferred partners, has been actively promoting hydrogen through various initiatives, such as the hydrogen natural gas blending project in Canada and Australia.
The Government of South Australia, through its Department for Energy and Mining, is committed to strengthening engagement with major hydrogen stakeholders and scaling up the industry through various projects and initiatives. This includes the Hydrogen Jobs Plan and a US$7 million demonstration project involving a 1.25 MW electrolyzer known as the Australian Gas Networks Hydrogen Park in Adelaide’s southern suburbs. These efforts signify a significant leap forward in advancing the hydrogen-driven economy.
In addition to South Australia’s ambitious hydrogen project, other companies are also making strides in the hydrogen sector. H2U, an Australian hydrogen infrastructure company, is developing a facility on Eyre Peninsula in South Australia that will integrate over 75 MW in water electrolyzers to produce renewable hydrogen and renewable ammonia. Nikola Corporation, based in Arizona, USA, is driving the advancement of the complete hydrogen refueling ecosystem through its integrated truck and energy solutions. The company has secured significant grants from the California state government for its HYLA brand hydrogen stations.
First Hydrogen Corp., a company focused on hydrogen-fuel-cell-powered vehicles, is revolutionizing the segment with its FCEV for light commercial vehicles, which boasts a range of over 630 km (400 miles) on a single refueling. The company has conducted successful trials with energy company SSE Plc. and fleet management company Rivus.
The South Australian Government’s selection of the ATCO Australia and BOC consortium for the world’s largest hydrogen production facility highlights the growing global focus on hydrogen as a key energy source. With the combined efforts of various companies and governments, the hydrogen revolution is gaining momentum, paving the way for a cleaner and more sustainable future.