Australian food cluster to run on green hydrogen

Hydrogen RD&D concept image with hydrogen storage tank and wind turbines (innovation)
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A new industry-led hydrogen food cluster is being established on the New South Wales Central Coast as a collaboration of Berkeley Vale-based Star Scientific Limited and Central Coast Industry Connect Limited.

The two entities have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will pioneer the use of Star Scientific’s award-winning HERO technology to provide a carbon-free heat source for food manufacturing. 

Related article: Industry leaders applaud NSW hydrogen strategy

The venture will be known as the Central Coast Hydrogen Food Cluster. It will involve Star Scientific working with food companies to provide carbon-free heat and the Central Coast Industry Connect running the cluster and providing the governance structure and platform for collaboration.

Star Scientific global group chairman Andrew Horvath said he was particularly excited that the first commercial application of HERO in the world would be in Star Scientific’s home on the Central Coast.

“Food manufacturers all over the world are looking for solutions to remove carbon from industrial processes such as heating, drying and cleaning. The Central Coast region is home to some of Australia’s biggest household brands and global food manufacturers, many of whom are realising the potential of hydrogen and our HERO technology to meet their heating needs,” Horvath said.

“We have already commenced work under this MoU providing heat for industrial-scale cleaning purposes in the food hub. This exciting work will demonstrate how our HERO can pave the way for Australian food manufacturers to reduce emissions.

“The gazetting by the New South Wales Government of the Central Coast as a Renewable Energy Zone and the recent release of a visionary hydrogen strategy for NSW is the icing on the cake.”

“Taking steps to decarbonise is important for the manufacturing sector as a whole, including food and beverage manufacturing,” Central Coast Industry Connect executive director Frank Sammut said.

“Manufacturers have turned to renewable electricity sources to reduce their carbon footprint but alternatives to gas for heating and cooking continues to be a challenge across a number of uses. The MoU with Star Scientific provides the opportunity for developing that alternative carbon-free heat source.”

Mr Horvath said that the cluster would be designed to be as inclusive as possible and hoped to engage and share knowledge with similar ventures emerging across Australia and New Zealand.

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“Knowledge and skills sharing with similar clusters emerging around Australia and New Zealand, is of paramount importance to increase efficiency around these processes,” he said.

“In particular, we want this cluster to be a ‘incubator’ of regulatory issues for the hydrogen supply chain, and more specifically, ‘green’ hydrogen made from renewable energy. Regulators are coming to grips with the use of green hydrogen and we hope the cluster will enable us to identify those issues early in the process and deal with them.”

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