North Queensland’s first renewable hydrogen facility will be built at Townsville’s Sun Metals Zinc Refinery, thanks to a $5 million Queensland Government grant.

The project will establish North Queensland’s renewable hydrogen supply chain and boost Townsville’s profile as a hydrogen hotspot, using funds from the $15 million Hydrogen Industry Development Fund.

Sun Metals CEO Kiwon Park said the company was delighted to start its hydrogen journey with the support of the Queensland Government.

‘This first phase of our hydrogen project will only be the beginning of developing a substantial renewables hydrogen industry based in Townsville, which we hope in the long-term will create export opportunities,’ Mr Park said.

‘The hydrogen project is part of Sun Metals’ long-term plans for a totally integrated operation, including our zinc refinery, solar farm and other operations at Stuart.’

Hydrogen has traditionally been produced using fossil fuels, which release carbon dioxide emissions during production.

Many countries are now looking to hydrogen produced using renewable power as a sustainable fuel for transport, power generation and other industrial uses.

Townsville has been identified as 1 of 3 hydrogen industry hotspots in Queensland, alongside Gladstone and Redlands, due to its prime location for renewable hydrogen production and export opportunities.

In early 2020, the state government appointed 3 Hydrogen Industry Champions to boost the profile of renewable hydrogen in those regions and promote fast-emerging opportunities in the industry.

State Development Minister Kate Jones said the Hydrogen Industry Development Fund would ensure Queensland leads the way in renewable hydrogen development in Australia.

‘Hydrogen has huge potential to pump millions of dollars into our economy and create jobs for workers in Townsville,’ Ms Jones said.

‘That’s why last year we released the Queensland Hydrogen Industry Strategy 2019–2024 to help position Queensland at the forefront of renewable hydrogen production in Australia by 2030.

‘The Queensland Government has committed to transition to a clean energy future and we are pleased to be supporting regional projects that promote innovation, deliver economic growth and highly skilled jobs for Queenslanders.’

Queensland has a number of existing and proposed renewable hydrogen projects, and is already a hydrogen leader among Australian states.

TIQ hosted delegations interested in hydrogen and renewable energy from Korea and Japan in 2019, and represented Queensland alongside other global hydrogen leaders at the World Hydrogen Fuels Summit in Amsterdam in March this year.

Renewables and biofuels are identified as a growing export market in the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.