Ark Energy breaks ground for landmark SunHQ

Executives wearing hard hats and high-vis vests hold shovels at the SunHQ groundbreaking ceremony
Celebrating the official ground breaking for Ark Energy’s SunHQ Hydrogen Hub in Townsville, from left to right: Minister Scott Stewart, Korea Zinc President Ki-Deok (KD) Park, Ark Energy CEO Daniel Kim, Ark Energy Vice Chairperson Kathy Danaher and Paul McCartney, Clean Energy Finance Corporation

Ark Energy has officially broken ground for construction of its first green hydrogen project, Stage 1 of the SunHQ Hydrogen Hub (SunHQ).

Located within the Sun Metals Green Industrial Precinct in Townsville, Australia, SunHQ will involve a 1MW polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) electrolyser that will produce green hydrogen from a behind-the-meter connection to the co-located 124MW Sun Metals Solar Farm.

Related article: Ark Energy withdraws plans for Western Plains Wind Farm

SunHQ will be one of the largest fully integrated, green hydrogen production and refuelling facilities in Australia. The facility will have a production capacity of 155 tonnes of green hydrogen per annum, ~90 tonnes of which will be used to power five 140 tonne-rated Hyzon Motors fuel cell electric trucks (FCET). These FCETs are expected to be the largest of their kind in the world.

Ark Energy will own the FCETs and lease them to its sister company, Townsville Logistics, which will incorporate them into its short haul fleet operating as road trains to transport zinc concentrate from the Port of Townsville to the Sun Metals Zinc Refinery and the finished zinc ingots from the refinery to the port. The zero-emission trucks will replace their diesel equivalents and avoid 1,300 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year.

“We are thrilled to celebrate the start of construction for SunHQ. We’re excited about the catalytic potential of SunHQ to build the domestic hydrogen economy of North Queensland and bring forward the decarbonisation of Australia’s ultra-heavy transport sector by several years,” Ark Energy CEO Daniel Kim said.

“We have deliberately oversized the capacity of SunHQ to ensure there is surplus green hydrogen to support other major industrial customers achieve their emissions reductions targets.”

The SunHQ project has been supported with funding of up to $8 million from the Queensland Government’s Hydrogen Industry Development Fund. The landmark project is also the first hydrogen project in Australia to be jointly supported by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC). It has received a $3.02 million grant from ARENA and is being supported by a $12.5 million debt finance facility from the CEFC.

It is anticipated that the production and testing of green hydrogen from SunHQ will commence by the end of Q1, 2024, with the first FCET expected to be delivered by the end of Q2, 2024.

Related article: Govt injects $69m into Central Queensland Hydrogen Hub

The official ground breaking for SunHQ was attended by Korea Zinc president Ki-Deok (KD) Park; Queensland Minister for Resources the Hon Scott Stewart MP; Mayor of Townsville City Council Cr Jenny Hill; and Paul McCartney, chief investment officer—Rewiring the Nation, CEFC.

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