Reposted from the Australian Financial Review (AFR) – Street Talk

Greenhill Energy, a business led by former Santos operative Nicholas Mumford, has begun meeting with investors as it seeks funding to build a waste-to-hydrogen facility that hopes to divert more than 20 per cent of South Australia’s landfill waste by 2030.


Reposted from ABC Riverland 

Planning is underway for a $425 million hydrogen project in regional South Australia, which is set to create about 300 jobs during construction.

The Riverbend Energy Hub is proposed for Tailem Bend, about an hour from Adelaide, and would convert 200,000 tonnes of landfill into hydrogen annually within five years of operation.

Spearheaded by Adelaide-based company Greenhill Energy, the project would create ongoing jobs, says chief executive Nicholas Mumford.

“There will be around 300 through construction and we expect around 50 to 100 direct employees through operation, but there are other avenues for employment indirectly,” he said.

The project, which is in approval stages, could begin construction in 2025.

It would use a gasification process to turn landfill into hydrogen, which would then be used to make 100,000 tonnes of urea — used in the manufacture of fertilisers, plastics and adhesives — per year once it reached full capacity.

A report released by the Grattan Institute this month found ammonia, which is used to create urea, is one of the three uses of green hydrogen that Australia should focus on producing domestically, due to its use in fertiliser for farmers.

Greenhill Energy's Nicholas Mumford says the Riverbend Energy Hub could be replicated across the country. (Supplied: Greenhill Energy)
Greenhill Energy’s Nicholas Mumford says the Riverbend Energy Hub could be replicated across the country. (Supplied: Greenhill Energy)

But what is hydrogen?

Hydrogen is an abundant, flammable gas that can be used as a fuel for electricity or burnt as a heat source.

It can be used in its naturally occurring form, or it can be created synthetically, as the Riverbend Energy Hub would do.

When created, hydrogen is classed by a colour system based on the amount of emissions generated or released by the manufacturing process.

Brown hydrogen is created by burning coal, with the emissions released into the atmosphere, while blue hydrogen is produced with natural gas, with the emissions captured and stored.

While there are other methods of producing hydrogen, the Riverbend Energy Hub would use gasification and produce a green hydrogen from landfill.

Mr Mumford said gasification heats up the landfill to high temperatures, converting it into gasses, and the hydrogen is separated from the carbon dioxide.

He said while the technology is used in the United States and Europe, it is not yet used in Australia.

“The technology itself is well proven in its component parts, but this is the first of its proposed kind in Australia,” he said.

“The opportunity here is the diversion of waste from the landfill, and the important benefit here is we’re reducing greenhouse gas emissions by doing so.”

‘Really sustainable’

Dr Rachelle Kernen says gasification is common in the US, but represents new technology in Australia. (Supplied: Rachelle Kernen)
Dr Rachelle Kernen says gasification is common in the US, but represents new technology in Australia. (Supplied: Rachelle Kernen)

Adelaide University post doctorate research fellow Rachelle Kernen said projects like this are important  the future.

Dr Kernen said the gasification process would heat and convert organic matter into gases, including hydrogen, without any combustion.

“If you use a waste product in this, it can actually be a really sustainable and effectively no-CO2 emission option for generating hydrogen power,” she said.

“Projects like this are going to be essential now and moving forward.

“It’s going to be imperative that we reduce emissions, like CO2 and methane — we’re going to need to really work hard at reducing and minimising emissions that contribute to climate change.”

Community benefits

Tailem Bend sits along the lower stretches of the River Murray, which eventually meets the sea at the Murray mouth in the Coorong. (ABC News: Che Chorley)
Tailem Bend sits along the lower stretches of the River Murray, which eventually meets the sea at the Murray mouth in the Coorong. (ABC News: Che Chorley)

Back in regional SA, Regional Development Australia Murraylands and Riverland chief executive Ben Fee said the Riverbend Energy Hub would be an exciting investment in a more renewable future for the area.

“We’ve got issues around climate change that we have to adapt to … [we have to] transform our industries, businesses and communities to make sure that we’re set up for the next two, three five or 10 generations,” he said.

“This is world leading type of stuff, which absolutely fits with RDA Murraylands and Riverland’s vision that we’ll be an internationally recognised, vibrant and world leading circular economy by 2030.”

Reposted from the Australian Financial Review (AFR)

Greenhill Energy, a business aiming to construct a $425 million waste-to-hydrogen plant in rural South Australia, is preparing for a capital raising to advance the project which will also produce fertiliser and synthetic fuels.

Managing director Nicholas Mumford, a former executive with Santos, said the group had successfully completed trials in Europe of the gasification process, and was heading into the next stage of the Riverbend Energy Hub project.

Reposted from Murray Bridge News

Start-up company Greenhill Energy has revealed a plan to build a $425 million gas plant at Tailem Bend.

The Riverbend Energy Hub would take organic and other waste otherwise destined for landfill – including leftovers from major Murraylands food processing companies – and turn it into hydrogen gas.

The gas would then be used to generate electricity, and supplied directly to households and industries.

It would also be used to produce hydrogen-based fertilisers such as urea and ammonia, plus other products such as jet fuel, at an industrial scale.

Executive director Nicholas Mumford, who outlined his vision at a Regional Development Australia event on Wednesday, said the project had the potential to redefine the waste management industry.

“We’re looking at a facility that takes in biomass and landfill waste and converts it into higher-value products for the region,” he said.

The facility would help slow the effects of climate change by preventing the release of harmful methane gas in landfills.

It would also create the equivalent of 300 full-time jobs during the construction phase, plus ongoing employment.

It could even give the Murraylands’ farmers a reason to add summer crops into their rotation for an extra revenue stream.

After all, any carbon-based material could be fed into the production process.

The facility would be built in four stages over the late 2020s.

A pilot would first demonstrate the “gasification” technology used to turn bio-waste into hydrogen gas.

Two major components would then be built in about 2025-26, subject to finance and government approvals: a gasifier capable of processing up to 60,000 tons of waste per year, and a 100-megawatt gas power plant.

The next stage would double the size of the plant, and allow it to begin producing urea at an industrial scale.

In the final stage, not expected until about 2030, four more gas turbines would allow the plant to produce much more electricity, and a connection to the Sea Gas pipeline would allow its operators to sell excess hydrogen gas, too.

Ultimately, Mr Mumford said, the finished facility would:

Tailem Bend was the perfect location for the facility because it sat in the middle of the Murraylands food bowl, with abundant organic material available to feed into it.

The proposed site for the facility, near the recently completed Tailem Bend solar farm, also offered easy access to the national electricity grid and the gas pipeline.

As a major development, the plant would likely be subject to a public consultation period before being approved for construction.

The project would be privately funded, though it would rely on a federal tax incentive to offset research and development costs.

It would be entirely separate to the state government’s hydrogen jobs plan, a $500 million project at Whyalla which would be government-owned and operated.

Greenhill Energy has been working on its concept since at least 2019.

Regional Development Australia chief executive Ben Fee said the idea was a perfect example of a contribution to a circular economy: creating value out of something that previously would have gone to waste.

“It’s pretty special to get something like this which looks at integrating so much of our ecosystem,” he said.