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Rio Tinto studies hydrogen production with Japan’s Sumitomo Corp


Australian global mining giant Rio Tinto has partnered with Sumitomo, a Japanese energy company, to explore hydrogen production and use at its Yarwun alumina refinery in Gladstone, Australia.

Sumitomo has been conducting a study on hydrogen production in Gladstone and, with the letter of intent signed with Rio Tinto, will apply its findings to conduct a pilot at the refinery.

The pilot will be implemented as part of the Gladstone Hydrogen Ecosystem, an initiative established by Sumitomo in partnership with academia, government agencies, and utilities to develop Gladstone as a hub for hydrogen production for the global market by 2030.

Parties Sumitomo collaborated with include Gladstone Ports Corporation, Gladstone Regional Council, Australian Gas Networks and CQUniversity Australia.

The announcement follows bp releasing a study confirming that large-scale production of green hydrogen and ammonia is technically feasible in Australia.

Commenting on the partnership with Sumitomo, Kellie Parker, chief executive at Rio Tinto, said his company is expanding its partnership with the Japanese company “to explore the possibilities of hydrogen, not only for our own refinery but for Sumitomo to supply industry more broadly in Gladstone.

“Reducing the carbon intensity of our alumina production will be key to meeting our 2030 and 2050 climate targets. There is clearly more work to be done, but partnerships and projects like this are an important part of helping us get there.”

The increased adoption of hydrogen in Australia will help strengthen the countries economy through the export of energy and will ensure a secure energy supply to meet local demand, whilst reducing carbon emissions.

Thousands of jobs are expected to be created by expanding Australian hydrogen capabilities. Collaboration with international companies is expected to help accelerate the growth of the market.

Sumitomo is also expanding its portfolio of green projects by deploying hydrogen initiatives to achieve the 2050 carbon neutrality goal.

Sumitomo Corporation’s Energy Innovation Initiative Director, Hajime Mori, added: “Sumitomo has commenced the Design Study and Preliminary Master Planning to build the Gladstone hydrogen ecosystem and we will continue to work towards future hydrogen exports from Gladstone.”

Minister for Water Glenn Butcher, reiterated: “Gladstone’s world-class deep water port, water security through Awoonga Dam, and industry attraction via the local State Development Area have set Gladstone up to become the hydrogen capital of Australia, providing massive employment and supply chain opportunities both locally and in the Central Queensland region.”

Originally published by Power Engineering International.

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