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ABB Hydrogen Optimized

The LaTrobe Valley coal-to-hydrogen project is set to receive a $2.35 billion injection from the Japanese Government.

The pilot project saw Latrobe Valley-produced hydrogen shipped to Japan through the Port of Hastings in 2022. It was such a success that the Japanese Government has committed $2.35 billion to progress the project into future shipments.

The project will be headed by J-Power and the Sumitomo Corporation, hand-picked by the Japanese Government.

“This project takes the CO2 which we can capture and safely store it in … things like the depleted oil and gas reservoirs in Bass Strait,” J-Power Latrobe Valley non-executive director Jeremy Stone told the ABC.

Stone said the companies will look at the Victorian Government’s CarbonNet project and ExxonMobil’s Gippsland Basin joint venture as potential options.

“So there’s now two options we have down in Gippsland, and over the next 12 months we’ll choose one of the ones which best suits.”

Victoria’s peak conservation body, Environment Victoria, has said the coal needed for the project will likely come from Loy Yang, the state’s largest coal mine.

This could mean the mine will have to be expanded, something Environment Victoria is hoping to avoid.

“That has massive complications regarding (mine) rehabilitation, not to mention all the use of water on already stressed river systems,” Environment Victoria policy and advocacy manager Bronya Lipski told the ABC.

However, the project is set to support over 1000 jobs a year in the Latrobe Valley, which has a history of high unemployment.

The project aims to product between 30,000 and 40,000 tonnes of gaseous hydrogen a year.