Eneos opens green hydrogen demo plant in Australia

Eneos opens green hydrogen demo plant in Australia

Japan’s largest oil company, Eneos, has opened a small green hydrogen pilot plant in Bulwer Island, Brisbane, Australia, to produce methylcyclohexane (MCH), a type of hydrogen carrier, using its proprietary low-cost “electrochemical synthesis of organic hydride” method (Direct MCH).

Though the demo plant is relatively small, with a capacity of only 20 kg/day of green hydrogen, Eneos’s Senior Vice President Yuichiro Fujiyama says the company will expand it in the “near future.”

Eneos says it has worked to scale up electrolysers using Direct MCH®technology in order to mass produce MCH derived from renewable energy (Green MCH). The operation of this demonstration plant is a part of this effort.

The 150-kilowatt-scale medium-sized electrolyser (approximately 200 times larger than the electrolyser used in the 2021 demonstration), which Eneos recently succeeded in developing the technology for, consists of stacked electrodes with a surface area of 3 sq m. The electrolyser realises increased efficiency in MCH production with electrodes which are nearly the largest by size that is used industrially.

The demonstration plant will produce green MCH by combining the medium-sized electrolyzer with a 250-kilowatt solar power system in Queensland, which is ideal for solar power generation.

With the aim of maximising production efficiency, the plant will confirm the durability of the electrolyser under subtropical conditions as well as develop optimal operation and control technologies for it when plant operation is adjusted to match fluctuations in solar power during the approximately eight-month-long demonstration period from February to September 2023.

Additionally, during the demonstration period, MCH equivalent to approximately 2 to 3 tonnes of hydrogen for 400 to 600 fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) will be produced and transported to Japan, where hydrogen will be extracted from MCH in Eneos’s Central Technical Research Laboratory.

Eneos adds it will use the knowledge gained from this demonstration plant to develop a larger-sized 5 megawatt-scale electrolyzer (more than 30 times larger than the medium-sized electrolyser used in this demonstration plant) for commercialisation by FY2025. It will work to develop production technology for stable and cost-competitive CO2-free hydrogen (green hydrogen) in Australia.

The demonstration plant is the first project supported by the Japanese government’s US$17 billion Green Innovation Fund, dedicated to helping the nation reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

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