DALRYMPLE Bay Infrastructure, North Queensland Bulk Ports, the Brookfield Group and the Itochu Corporation have signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding to investigate the potential for producing, storing and exporting green hydrogen at the Dalrymple Bay Terminal at Hay Point.

NQBP CEO Nicolas Fertin said NQBP was excited to work with existing stakeholders and new proponents and explore opportunities for hydrogen at Hay Point.

“As part of our planning, we want to ensure new trades such as hydrogen can co-exist at our ports alongside our existing trades,” Mr Fertin said.

“This is part of preparing for the decarbonisation of overseas industries and markets so that our ports can support the potential development of new trades that foster the economic development of our region.”

Mr Fertin said the MoU was a first step in what would be a thorough and considered process.

“We are at an early stage of possible developments, with future steps involving further feasibility studies, consulting with community, traditional owners and regulators.”

DPI CEO Anthony Timbrell said the Dalrymple Bay Terminal is an established export port, known for its key role in supporting the global steel supply chain.

“The terminal is ideally placed to develop a green hydrogen facility due to its deep water port, the established Mackay industrial zone, the availability of land and water and position within one of Queensland’s Renewable Energy Zones,” Mr Timbrell said.

“The Dalrymple Bay Terminal has operated for nearly 40 years and we remain fully committed to maintaining and expanding existing infrastructure to assist our current customers to service the world’s steel sector.

“The possible addition of new hydrogen-based products to complement our current export position would see DBT play an even bigger role in the export of key resources to satisfy the world’s demand for steel and low carbon energy sources, such as hydrogen. We look forward to engaging all stakeholders during this feasibility study stage.”

DBI said the first stage of the feasibility studies will begin this calendar year. The company said it is committed to consulting with the community, traditional owners and the terminal’s users and stakeholders as part of the project development process.

Queensland transport and main roads minister Mark Bailey said Queensland’s publicly-owned ports needed to be ready to capitalise on the future demand for exported hydrogen from international trading partners.

“Queensland is already a leading energy exporter and the world is now looking to us to become a leading producer of hydrogen as the next energy source,” Mr Bailey said.

“Renewable hydrogen can be stored and used over time, and, as a future fuel source, is one of the most promising solutions for reducing global emissions, particularly in the transport and heavy industry sectors.

“Earlier this year, we signed an agreement to develop a liquid hydrogen facility at the Port of Townsville.

“Hay Point is a critical part of our state’s supply chain and Queensland’s economy, connecting regional Queensland to power, food and steel industries in Asia.

“Agreements like this allow us to prepare the port to meet the energy needs of developing industries across the globe.”

Minister for energy renewables and hydrogen Mick de Brenni said the state government’s focus on renewable energy, hydrogen and manufacturing was part of Queensland’s Covid-19 economic recovery plan.

“That plan is about supporting regional economies through targeted investments that support job-creation and workforce development,” Mr de Brenni said.

“Hydrogen presents an incredible opportunity to create jobs and decarbonise our economy. Our $2-billion Renewable Energy and Hydrogen Jobs Fund is about working with industry to encourage investment in emerging industries like hydrogen.”

Mr de Brenni said the government has also backed a plan for a three-gigawatt renewable hydrogen facility in Aldoga, west of Gladstone.

“We’re supporting studies to establish a renewable hydrogen demonstration plant next to Kogan Creek Power Station near Chinchilla,” he said.

“And we’re also working with business groups to develop local workforce capability and supply chains in hydrogen, as we’ve done previously with our global liquefied natural gas export industry.”

Dalrymple Bay Infrastructure is an ASX-listed company that manages the Dalrymple Bay Terminal at Hay Point.

Green hydrogen refers to hydrogen produced using renewable energy sources that emit no carbon dioxide in the process. For more on the colours of hydrogen, see this explainer published earlier this month.