Green light for Hazer Group biogas-to-hydrogen project

Australian firm Hazer Group has made its final investment decision to proceed with the $17 million (€10.3 million) Hazer Commercial Demonstration Plant (CDP) project.

The project will be built at the Western Australian Water Corporation’s Woodman Point Wastewater Treatment Plant and produce up to 100 tonnes of low-emissions hydrogen annually, using biogas collected at the plant. The hydrogen produced will be fuel cell-grade, suitable for use as a low-emission transport fuel, for power generation, or in clean industrial applications.

The installation of the hydrogen fuel cell will be one of the first large-scale installations in Australia and will demonstrate the technology’s ability to be integrated with the Australian grid, according to Hazer Group.

The CDP project will use around two million standard cubic metres of biogas that is currently being flared for environmental mitigation. A biogas supply agreement and project collaboration agreement have been executed with the Western Australian Water Corporation, providing security of feedstock supply and access to the project site.

Perth-based firm Primero Group has been appointed as the engineering, procurement, and construction contractor for the project. Hazer has been working with Primero under an early contractor involvement contract to develop the design, procurement packages, project schedules, and budgets since June 2019.

“This is a significant milestone, and we look forward to moving smoothly into project execution,” said Geoff Ward, Hazer Group’s managing director. “The Hazer CDP is a key step in demonstrating the commercial readiness of our technology to the growing national and international, low-emission hydrogen market.

“We are delighted to continue the development of this novel Australian technology. We look forward to working with Primero to execute an excellent project.”

The Hazer Group Board revised the previously announced CAPEX budget of $16.65 million (10.12 million) to $17 million (10.3 million). The project scope has been expanded to include a stationary hydrogen fuel cell power generation system. This will allow Hazer to use some of the hydrogen produced by the CDP to generate its own renewable power, helping to offset power purchased from utility providers, and reducing overall operating costs.

Hazer entered into a binding funding agreement with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency for a grant of up to $9.41 million (5.7 million) to support the construction and operation of the CDP. However, the firm has not been able to secure a binding agreement with BOC for the hydrogen produced by the CDP. Hazer said the intended end-use arrangements for the hydrogen “have not matured in the time frame originally anticipated or hoped for by BOC or Hazer”. The firms will continue discussions to explore future opportunities.

The company has also executed binding agreements with Mitchell Asset Management in its capacity as trustee for the Mitchell Asset Management Go-Innovation Finance Fund for a $6 million (3.6 million) senior secured loan facility to support project construction.

“We are grateful for the support of ARENA and Water Corporation in making this exciting world-first project possible,” added Ward. “The Hazer technology enables a new source of low-emission renewable hydrogen to be developed.

“It will increase the utilisation of waste resources, improve civic infrastructure and offer new economic opportunities through the development of graphite manufacturing opportunities and hydrogen for transport or clean energy. We acknowledge ARENA and Water Corporation for supporting the CDP.”

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