Australia’s Edify Energy has partnered with Germany's Siemens Energy Global GmbH to develop a 100% green hydrogen production facility in Queensland.
The energy project – called EGH2 – will involve applied research conducted at universities in Australia and Germany. The project will produce green hydrogen from Australia’s abundant supplies of solar power, supplemented by wind power.
EGH2 was recently awarded conditional A$20.7 million (€16.4 million) funding from the HyGATE Incubator Initiative. The publicly funded Hygate initiative supports development of Australian-German hydrogen concepts.
David Urry, Investment Director at the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) in Berlin says: ‘HyGATE strengthens Australian–German collaboration to reduce the cost of green hydrogen production and supports cutting-edge technology in the industry.’
Chief Executive, John Cole, established Edify Energy in 2015 after ten years working in renewable energy in Europe and the UK.
Today the company has successfully overseen the development, structuring, financing and delivery of 773 MWp of utility-scale solar projects and a 25 MW/50 MWh battery energy storage system in NSW, Victoria and Queensland.
When it came to the EGH2 decision, Edify needed somewhere with abundant solar resources, good water supplies and excellent port access. Northern Queensland has all three – and official support.
In 2022, the Queensland Government announced development of the North Queensland Super Hub. Meanwhile Townsville’s Lansdown Eco-Industrial Precinct is already under construction — and that’s where EGH2 will be located.
Australian companies are dynamic and creative, and make reliable partners for global energy companies. In this case, Siemens Energy brings world class technology and deep engineering expertise to bear. Edify brings local know-how and a more entrepreneurial style.
The two companies operate on different scales but share a similar approach.
‘We’re more agile and can move faster,’ says Cole. ‘But like Siemens Energy, we’re very much about going through the steps, approaching it like a developer and working away methodically to make sure we can deliver.’
Damien Krauklis, who leads Edify’s emerging energy projects, notes that as hydrogen technology develops, proven technology and scalability are key concerns.
‘The feedback we’re getting from investors everywhere across the world is that they all want to see it done at reasonable scale,’ he says. ‘They need to see we have learned to crawl before we walk.
‘Ultimately, we want to see vast volumes of green hydrogen exported from Townsville. So one of the important features of this project is its ability to scale.
‘Our development permit over 105 hectares will enable us to build this facility out over time to meet the need of the market.’
According to Cole, the support of partners like Austrade is essential for a small business in an emerging global industry.
‘Austrade’s support has been exceptional,’ he says. ‘Advisers have been really proactive helping connect us into markets, particularly where we did not have strong relationships.’
‘We’re a small team,’ adds Krauklis. ‘We mostly have our heads down working to deliver the project. So we really appreciate Austrade’s help in getting our story out.’
As the project progresses to financial close, the HyGATE award has provided reassurance.
‘It is recognition that government agencies like the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research through Project Management Jülich (PtJ) also saw the potential of our project,’ says Krauklis.
In addition, Northeast Queensland is gaining a global profile. According to research by Swinburne University of Technology, northern Queensland is emerging as a top destination for renewable energy projects.
The 2022 merger of Australian water specialist Hunter H2O and New Zealand-headquartered professional services firm Beca is proving a dynamic trans-Tasman combination. It is one that demonstrates the unique opportunities for businesses in the region.