THE South Australian government and Trafigura have unveiled a $750-million hydrogen project to be integrated with the Nyrstar Port Pirie smelter.

The first stage of the development would involve an 85-megawatt electrolyser. The oxygen would be used to supply around 20% of the needs of the Port Pirie smelter, and the hydrogen converted to ammonia for export and use by shipping, domestic transport and supporting the Port Pirie Industrial Precinct.

The second stage would involve a 440-megawatt electrolyser, supplying the entire oxygen needs of the smelter, and producing large amounts of ammonia for export while maintaining supply to the domestic market.

The SA government and Trafigura have each committed $2.5 million to front-end engineering and design to accelerate the investment and jobs boom the project will deliver to Port Pirie.

“Since Trafigura became the majority owner of Nyrstar, we’ve been working together on how they could invest further in South Australia, and we are thrilled to unveil this world class project,” South Australian Premier Steven Marshall said.

“This $750-million project is part of the ongoing transformation of South Australia into a producer of green hydrogen of global significance based on our outstanding renewable energy resources.”

Mr Marshall said the state intends to achieve net-100% renewables by 2030 and a 50% cut to emissions by 2030.

“Projects like Trafigura’s with the support of the South Australian and Federal Governments – will help South Australia achieve net 500% renewable energy compared to current grid demand by 2050, as detailed in Our Climate Change Action Plan,” Mr Marshall said.

“As the largest metal and second largest oil trader in the world, Trafigura is the class of company we want investing here. It shows that our Hydrogen Action Plan is working to attract investment.”

SA minister for energy and mining Dan van Holst Pellekaan said the South Australian government’s Hydrogen Action Plan will turn the state’s wind and sun resources into clean fuel to run shipping and trucking fleets.

“Our vision is a Renewable Energy Industrial Precinct in the Spencer Gulf – incorporating Port Pirie, Port Augusta, Whyalla and our world-class copper resources, to support jobs for generations to come,” he said.

The project would allow other industries to be established at Port Pirie to make use of the available hydrogen and ammonia, while improving the competitiveness of the smelter.

Trafigura general manager in Australia Tim Rogers said, “We welcome this commitment from the South Australian Government to accelerate this project and look forward to working closely with the South Australian [and federal] governments to bring this project to reality. It’s testament to the Hydrogen Action Plan and the close collaboration we have developed.

“By integrating green hydrogen production with the existing smelter and port, paired with South Australia’s world-class renewables, we think this project stands out from the pack globally,” Mr Rogers said.

“Through Nyrstar, we’re committed to the people of Port Pirie and the Upper Spencer Gulf and want to expand our presence and help attract new industries to the region.”

This project joins a list of hydrogen projects in South Australia, including H2U’s Eyre Peninsula Gateway project which has also been accelerated by the South Australian Government, and Australia’s largest operating green hydrogen facility, AGIG’s 1.25MW facility at Tonsley which is blending hydrogen into the existing gas network in nearby Mitchell Park.