Renewable hydrogen study holds huge potential for Karratha

Peter LongPilbara News
The Yara fertiliser and technical ammonia nitrate plants on the Burrup Peninsula.
Camera IconThe Yara fertiliser and technical ammonia nitrate plants on the Burrup Peninsula. Credit: Pilbara News, Tom Zaunmayr

In some exciting news last week, Yara announced it had joined with French engineering company ENGIE to carry out a $3 million feasibility study with the objective of designing a “green” hydrogen plant in Karratha.

Green hydrogen is that produced sustainably with no carbon dioxide or other toxic emissions and the aim is to integrate it with Yara’s existing plant here in Karratha to make CO2-free ammonia.

Hydrogen is one of the major ingredients of ammonia and Yara extracts hydrogen from natural gas, which produces a lot of CO2.

With this new plant, photovoltaic panels would be used to generate clean electricity from the sun, which would then be used to extract hydrogen from water using electrolysis. Yara is working towards making carbon-free fertiliser, and green hydrogen is the major enabler for making CO2-free or “green” ammonia, which is the key ingredient for “green” fertiliser.

The transition away from fossil fuels will require a global, collective commitment, but as renewable sources like solar and wind power are unpredictable, clean hydrogen will likely become a key component in clean energy networks. If the study is successful, Yara will progress with the first phase of the project here in Karratha, which would be a $200 million investment. Future phases could result in an incredible $5 billion spending in total.

This would be a huge step towards making Karratha the hydrogen energy capital of the nation.

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