South Korean firms plan Queensland ammonia, H2 exports

  • : Fertilizers, Hydrogen
  • 22/09/21

A consortium of South Korean firms have set up a venture in Australia's Queensland state to develop a supply chain to ship more than 1mn t/yr of green ammonia from Australia to South Korea in 2032.

The group comprises mining firm Korea Zinc and its Australia-based subsidiary Ark Energy and conglomerates Hanwha Impact and SK Gas. The partners plan to build upon Ark Energy's Collinsville green energy hub, which plans to develop 3,000MW of renewable energy, said Queensland energy minister Mick de Brenni.

Korea Zinc already has a presence in northern Queensland through its 100pc owned Sun Metals zinc refinery in Townsville, which Korea Zinc plans to operate fully on renewable energy by 2040 and on 80pc renewable energy by 2030. The firm set up Ark Energy in 2021 to help the refinery with its energy transition. Ark Energy has set up the SunHQ hydrogen hub powered by a 124MW solar farm that will power the zinc refinery.

The consortium brings together three major firms in South Korea's hydrogen economy that have a forecast demand for more than 2mn t/yr of green ammonia from 2030, said Korea Zinc vice-chairman Yun B Choi. "We look forward to working with our partners to unlock Australia's potential to become a large-scale producer and exporter of green hydrogen and its derivatives including green ammonia," said Choi.

The latest venture follows the signing last year by Korea Zinc with Townsville port about exporting 120,000t of renewable hydrogen to South Korea from the port.

The Queensland government is keen to promote the state as a potential exporter of green hydrogen and green ammonia. The state launched a A$2bn ($1.34bn) fund to finance renewable energy and hydrogen projects given its potential as a significant producer of solar energy.

Queensland has around 28 projects in the planning stage to produce hydrogen and/or ammonia, largely from renewable energy. South Korean and Japanese firms have been the most active foreign investors in Australia-based hydrogen projects, as both countries have limited capacity to produce green hydrogen and both seek pathways to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

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