Iberdrola and ABEL Energy partner on Tassie hydrogen

Bell Bay shipping port at sunset in Tasmania (iberdrola abel)
Bell Bay, Tasmania (Image: Shutterstock)

Renewables company Iberdrola Australia and hydrogen developer ABEL Energy will work together to deliver a green hydrogen and green methanol production facility at Bell Bay, in northern Tasmania, backed by new renewable energy generation within the state. The total estimated capital requirement for the methanol and renewable energy project is in the order of $1.7 billion. 

The proposed green hydrogen and methanol production facility, known as the Bell Bay Powerfuels Project, was the subject of a $1.3 million feasibility study and widely acclaimed Knowledge-Sharing Report completed earlier this year by ABEL Energy with a $555,000 hydrogen funding grant from the Tasmanian Government. 

Related article: Countrywide driving Tasmania’s green hydrogen future

The scale of the Bell Bay Powerfuels Project, at 200,000 tonnes per year of green methanol for Stage One, will make it one of the largest such projects in the world. Stage Two will increase capacity to 300,000 tonnes per year. 

The technology required to design and build the project is being accessed from around the world. It is estimated operations will require 50 local employees upon commencement in 2026 and generate a further 150 indirect local jobs. Construction will employ around 500 people. 

Iberdrola Australia CEO Ross Rolfe AO said, “Iberdrola Australia’s investment in the Bell Bay Powerfuels Project demonstrates our commitment to helping Australian enterprises reduce their carbon emissions in sectors which have, historically, been more technically and economically difficult to abate. We are delighted to be combining Iberdrola’s global expertise in green hydrogen technologies with ABEL Energy’s local knowledge and business momentum.

“Iberdrola Australia was attracted to the Bell Bay Powerfuels Project because of its integrated nature—combining both renewable generation investments with green hydrogen capacity investment—and its collaborative approach to creating shared value for Tasmanian stakeholders over the long term.” 

ABEL Energy co-founder and CEO Michael van Baarle said, “Together we can harness Tasmania’s excellent hydro and wind resources to produce hydrogen via electrolysis of water, and then use that hydrogen to produce green methanol for the burgeoning green maritime fuel market and other applications.

Related article: New hydrogen project to green Tasmanian industry

“The world’s major shipping companies, led by Denmark’s A.P. Moller – Maersk, have, since August 2021, been placing orders for very large ships designed to run on ultra-clean-burning green methanol. This has many benefits such as eliminating air pollution in ports, avoiding the risk of catastrophic oil spills in sensitive marine environments, and especially reducing greenhouse gas emissions currently generated by fossil fuel use.

“ABEL Energy and Iberdrola are looking forward to establishing a new future-proof climate-tech industry for the Tamar Valley community which can play an important role for generations of Tasmanians, as well as kick-starting a commercial-scale green hydrogen industry in Australia.” 

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