THE VICTORIAN government is backing a study into the feasibility of establishing a renewable ship fuel production hub in Portland.

The government believes the feasibility study could see Portland become home to one of Australia’s first green fuel manufacturing hubs for shipping.

Victorian regional develop minister Harriet Shing announced the study on Tuesday, and a $500,000 investment through the state government’s Portland Diversification Fund.

HAMR Energy subsidiary Portland H2 will lead the study, focusing on the possibility of a plant that converts plantation forestry into green methanol.

The study includes preliminary engineering and planning for the plant that would also include a 100-megawatt electrolyser to produce renewable hydrogen from water.

The government noted Portland is located near Australia’s largest plantation forestry production area and home to a deep-water port that sees 300 vessels and around five million tonnes of forestry product loaded each year.

As part of the feasibility study, HAMR Energy will investigate using plantation forestry residue, such as harvest trimmings or damaged timber to produce green methanol.

“This announcement is another step forward for Victoria’s growing renewable hydrogen industry, which will support our renewable energy transition and assist in decarbonising hard-to-abate sectors, including shipping,” Victorian minister for energy and resources Lily D’Ambrosio said.

HAMR Energy director David Stribley said also welcomed the support for the study.

“HAMR Energy is excited to support the government’s efforts to position Victoria as a leader for in renewable energy production, and support accelerate the decarbonising of the global shipping industry,” he said.

The study is part of the $17-million Portland Economic Diversification Plan which aims to support economic growth in the Glenelg Shire through projects and planning.