Consortium named for $600m SA hydrogen plant

ATCO Australia and BOC have been appointed to deliver the “world’s largest” hydrogen production, power generation, and storage facilities at Whyalla.

Oct 23, 2023, updated Oct 23, 2023
A render of the planned Whyalla hydrogen plant. Photo: SA Government.

A render of the planned Whyalla hydrogen plant. Photo: SA Government.

The state government also appointed South Australian energy infrastructure company EPIC Energy to develop an integrated pipeline and hydrogen storage solution for the Upper Spencer Gulf site.

The three companies will help the government bring the $600 million hydrogen energy plan to life, with the agreements following a six-month evaluation assessment process of 29 proposals received from companies worldwide.

The consortium of ATCO Australia and BOC – a subsidiary of German multinational Linde – committed to an “Early Contractor Involvement” agreement with the state government, under which they will undertake detailed project and engineering design, procurement of critical equipment, finalise contracting arrangements and cost estimations.

EPIC also entered into an ECI, with the state government noting the company’s storage solution “would provide a dual-purpose storage and transmission pipeline, providing infrastructure connections for hydrogen production expansion and industrial offtake to support an emerging industry”.

The Whyalla Hydrogen Power Plant will include 250 megawatts of electrolysers designed to global engineering standards as well as the installation of 100 per cent hydrogen-operated fast-startup turbines – a world first according to the government.

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The latest announcement comes after the Malinauskas and Albanese governments revealed in September they would jointly spend $100 million on infrastructure at the planned Port Bonython Hydrogen Hub near Whyalla.

Under that plan, the state and federal governments will work with private industry to build the hub to take advantage of a projected hydrogen boom. The state government said by 2050 Australia’s hydrogen industry was projected to generate $50 billion in additional GDP and create more than 16,000 jobs.

Photo: South Australia Government.

On this latest announcement, Premier Peter Malinauskas said his government’s hydrogen plan was “a world-leading opportunity for South Australia, that has the potential to rival Victoria’s gold rush, the coal boom in Queensland, or Western Australia’s development of iron ore and gas”.

“We have all the things the world will need to decarbonise – 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,” he said.

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“We can use this clean hydrogen to firm our electricity grid, but more than that, we can use it to help reindustrialise the Upper Spencer Gulf, creating thousands of jobs in the process.”

ATCO Australia CEO and country chair John Ivulich said the company was “delighted to be selected as a consortium partner for the design of the world’s biggest hydrogen plant”.

“We truly have a shared purpose with the South Australian Government to build better communities and this project will be transformational for the community, customers and the country,” he said.

“ATCO is committed to the energy transition across the globe and our combined expertise at energy, partnering and delivery over many decades makes this project a significant milestone in our history.”

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