Australia’s Portland en route to become renewable fuel production hub

Harriet Shing, Minister for Regional Development, Victoria, Australia, has announced a new feasibility study that could see Portland become home to one of Australia’s first green shipping fuel production hubs, with $500,000 invested through the Labor Government’s Portland Diversification Fund.

The study will be led by Portland H2, a subsidiary of HAMR Energy, towards establishing a plant converting plantation forestry residue to green methanol, Victorian government said, adding that the study includes preliminary engineering and planning for the plant that would also include a 100-megawatt electrolyzer to produce renewable hydrogen from water.

The government further noted that HAMR Energy believes Portland is a prime location for a renewable methanol facility and as part of the feasibility study, it will investigate using plantation forestry residue, like harvest trimmings or damaged timber to produce green methanol.

Portland is also home to a deep-water port which sees 300 vessels and approximately 5 million tons of forestry product loaded each year, the government said.

To note, this project is part of the Labor Government’s broader $17.4 million Portland Economic Diversification Plan, which is part of the Government’s investment of more than $41 billion in rural and regional Victoria since 2015.

Minister for Energy and Resources Lily D’Ambrosio commented: “This announcement is another step forward for Victoria’s growing renewable hydrogen industry, which will support our renewable energy transition and assist in decarbonizing hard-to-abate sectors, including shipping.”

Member for Western Victoria Jacinta Ermacora said: “We’re making sure Portland has a strong and diverse economy, and supporting projects like the Portland Renewable Fuels Project is part of our long-term plan to back the region.”

As for this year’s other renewable fuel projects in Australia, in August, engineering and technology company Technip Energies secured a contract with energy major BP for a hydrogen production unit at BP’s Kwinana biorefinery in Western Australia, and in July, the Hydrogen Utility (H2U), a developer of green hydrogen infrastructure, and Vopak Terminals Australia, a wholly-owned subsidiary of tank storage company Royal Vopak, started a collaboration in relation to H2U’s H2-Hub project proposed to be established in Gladstone, Queensland.