ARENA backs pilot H2 project to cut emissions at alumina refinery
Hydrogen tanks. Source: US Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy
Mining giant Rio Tinto Ltd (ASX:RIO) and Japanese diversified group Sumitomo Corp (TYO:8053) will install a 2.5-MW pilot electrolyser to replace natural gas with green hydrogen at the miner’s alumina refineries in Queensland, Australia.
The project will aim to test the viability of using green hydrogen in the calcination process in order to lower carbon emissions from the alumina refining process. If successful, it could pave the way for adopting the technology at scale globally, the partners said on Wednesday.
The Aussie government separately announced that it will grant, through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), AUD 32.1 million (USD 22.1m/EUR 19.7m) for the AUD-111.1-million Yarwun Hydrogen Calcination Pilot Demonstration Programme.
Under the trial project, Sumitomo will build and operate an electrolyser facility to produce more than 250 tonnes of hydrogen per year and supply it to Rio Tinto’s Yarwun refinery. Around 6,000 tonnes of alumina will be produced annually with the green fuel, offsetting about 3,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
The scheme also includes the retrofit of processing equipment at the refinery. With construction works slated to begin next year, first hydrogen is expected to be produced by 2025.
The hydrogen calcination project will back Rio Tinto’s goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2050 and help it cut its Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 50% by 2030 from 2018 levels.
Veselina Petrova is one of Renewables Now's most experienced green energy writers. For several years she has been keeping track of game-changing events both large and small projects and across the globe.