Geneva-based commodity trading and logistics company Trafigura plans to construct a hydrogen plant worth AUD750m (USD540m) within its Port Pirie lead smelter in South Australia, as reported by Reuters on December 9. The Australian state government and Trafigura jointly funded the scheme with AUD5m (USD3.57m) for the initial design study, with decisions regarding final investments to be made by the end of 2022. According to the Swiss firm, it aims to produce 20 tons of green hydrogen each day initially and export it in the form of green ammonia, then switch to full capacity and manufacture 100 tons per day for exports and domestic supply.
Trafigura has been seeking expansions in the clean energy sector since 2019 when it set up a renewable energy arm, and the green power business has become its third core pillar behind metals and oil trading. Last year, it adopted a joint venture (JV) with global institutional fund manager IFM Investors to build a portfolio of renewable energy projects with a total capacity of two gigawatts (GW). The green transition complies with Australia’s initiative to develop renewable energy resources and the aim to transform into a major green hydrogen exporter. For that, the country’s largest coal-exporting state, New South Wales, has announced it would offer incentives worth AUD3bn (USD2.15bn) to hydrogen projects, following other major resource-exporting states. Those states such as Western Australia and Queensland have attracted Japanese hydrogen producers, including Iwatani [8088:JP], Kawasaki Heavy Industries [7012:JP], Kansai Electric Power [9503:JP], and Marubeni Corp [8002:JP].