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Desert Bloom attracts Japanese investment

13th April 2022

By: Esmarie Iannucci

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Australasia

     

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PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Japanese energy giant Osaka Gas has entered into a joint development agreement at the $10.75-billion Desert Bloom hydrogen project, in the Northern Territory.

The agreement will see Osaka Gas and Desert Bloom proponent, Aqua Aerem, jointly develop the project, which will produce 410 000 t/y of green hydrogen when at full scale.

Details of the agreement are confidential but will involve Osaka Gas contributing to project management, engineering and technical support for the project, identifying customers and negotiating the sale of hydrogen from the project, and identifying, evaluating and negotiating with equipment manufacturers.

Aqua Aerem CEO Gerard Reiter said the company was looking forward to working closely with Osaka Gas, which, in addition to being one of the world’s largest gas buyers and distributors, had an extensive global portfolio of energy projects, including liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals, pipelines and independent power projects.

​“We are pleased to be collaborating with Osaka Gas on the further development of Desert Bloom Hydrogen, which is the most advanced, shovel-ready green hydrogen project in Australia,” Reiter said.

“This deal is a strong endorsement of the massive value of the project and Aqua Aerem’s innovative air-to-water technology, which is opening the door for green hydrogen projects to be located where the best renewable power sources are available, which is generally in the driest areas of the planet.”

Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner welcomed Osaka Gas’ contribution to the development of a green hydrogen sector in the region, which is set to play a key role in meeting the Northern Territory’s ambitious economic targets.

​“The project, which features pioneering technology to capture water from the atmosphere in arid environments, has been awarded Major Project Status by the Northern Territory government.

“Today’s announcement is great news for the Northern Territory, for Australia and for Japan, as we strive to reach our shared destination of net-zero emissions by 2050.

​“This major project is also providing a big boost to our economy, with around 1 000 jobs to be created during construction and a further 120 once it is operational, and we look forward to marking many more important milestones along the way.”

​The project consists of a series of modular 2 MW hydrogen production units (HPUs) capable of generating water from the atmosphere, as well as producing heat, renewable electricity, and green hydrogen.

Aqua Aerem chairperson and Sanguine MD David Green said Osaka Gas was an ideal partner to jointly develop the Desert Bloom hydrogen project.

​“Existing close ties with and proximity to Japan make the location of a major green hydrogen in the Northern Territory strategically beneficial to Japan and Australia as Japan implements its hydrogen roadmap to “Beyond-Zero” Carbon,” said Green. 

“Desert Bloom Hydrogen will produce revenue from the installation of the first module and does not require large upfront expenditure, including investment in large infrastructure that may become stranded or suffer from technological obsolesce. 

“As a result of these substantial savings, Desert Bloom will be on track to produce green hydrogen at an export price international customers want to pay, less than $2/kg within five years.” 

Aqua Aerem is also in discussions with other potential partners regarding the purchase of its green hydrogen as well as joint venture opportunities spanning the energy, chemical, mining, transport and aviation industries.

Green said Sanguine was in the process of increasing the scale of the project to 20 GW to meet the quickly developing demand for green hydrogen as companies position to deliver on their international commitments.

“An equitable global energy transition and water security are the key challenges of this generation and Aqua Aerem is well-placed to assist with the expected surging demand for reliable, affordable, green energy and provision of secure water supplies,” he said.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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