Whyalla could be in the perfect position to benefit from the state government’s Hydrogen Roadmap, with the steel city having some of the best infrastructure necessary to take advantage of exporting the chemical.
The Roadmap focuses on using South Australia’s renewable energy sources to generate electricity for use in electrolysis in order to produce hydrogen.
About 4000 jobs in South Australia are identified by the Roadmap, with a number likely to end up in regional areas like Whyalla.
Member for Giles Eddie Hughes said producing hydrogen commercially at scale would open up a range of uses including energy storage, transport, energy production and various chemical applications.
“The addition of nitrogen to hydrogen enables the production of ammonia, which is used to produce a range of essential products such as fertiliser and and explosives,” he said.
“The capital cost of renewables continues to fall and the operating costs are negligible. Those cost falls put South Australia at an increasingly advantageous position due to our world class wind and solar resources.
“Whyalla is at the intersection of the largely untapped wind resource of the Eyre Peninsula and the border region’s massive solar resource.”
Additionally, Whyalla has the state’s only suitable export facility in Port Bonython.
“There are a whole range of opportunities for Whyalla and this is one of them. We just have to back it at the start and see what we can do with it,” Mr Hughes said.
The main challenge involved with exporting hydrogen will be doing so in a cost-effective way.
“We know that hydrogen is produced around the world using fossil fuels sources, but can we do it using renewables?” Mr Hughes said.
“If we can, the future is huge.”