Australia’s largest oil and gas producer Woodside Petroleum [WPL:AU] will fund Bill Gates-backed Heliogen [HLGN:US], supporting the latter in the full-scale trial of concentrated-solar-power (CSP) technology in Australia, as reported by Reuters on March 28. Specifically, Heliogen’s CSP system uses thousands of mirrors to precisely reflect sunlight to a receiver, where the heat collected by the receiver can be used for power generation and making cement or steel. Citing Heliogen CEO, Bill Gross, the CSP system can provide a cheaper energy supply than fossil fuel without carbon dioxide emissions. Woodside may apply the system in its production and manufacturing of hydrogen for export, and promote the scheme to Australian mining companies or other remote energy users, Gross added.
The move is part of Woodside’s plan of investing USD5bn in new energy products by 2030. Last December, the Australian energy producer also disclosed a plan to construct a factory for producing hydrogen and ammonia near Perth. The plant manufactures both the green hydrogen generated from water electrolysis powered by renewable energy and blue hydrogen extracted from natural gas, with a production capacity of 1,500 tons per day. The company hopes the investment in renewables could offset the emission from its oil and gas businesses. According to Woodside’s Climate Plan 2021, it aims to cut emissions from the equity in its project by 15% by 2025 and 30% by 2030, before it reaches net-zero emission by 2050.