Can you provide some scale on the size of the green hydrogen facility?
The GEGHA project will see the installation of the 27 MW Wathagar Solar Farm, which will produce roughly 45,000 MWh of energy per annum — the equivalent to powering over 4,000 homes — used to make 3,800 MT of anhydrous ammonia to displace the equivalent of 6,800 MT of imported urea, as well as enough low-carbon hydrogen to displace more than 1.4 million litres of imported diesel.
How long is it estimated the facility will take to construct?
Construction for the facility is underway thanks to partial funding from the NSW Government’s Hydrogen Hubs Initiative. The $35.8 million awarded by the NSW Government will help us enhance the capacity of the world’s first Good Earth Cotton farm. We anticipate construction will take up to 15 months, and our objective is to have the facility fully operational by mid-2025.
How many jobs will the facility create?
During the construction period of the facility, we estimate the GEGHA project will bring approximately 100 jobs to the region with further opportunities in the operations space once the project is completed.
We’ve estimated approximately twenty full-time, high-quality operations jobs will result from the GEGHA project. However, we are in discussions with Moree Council and the NSW Government about extending the project to a special activation precinct which would be able to provide the same benefits to farmers in Moree looking to mirror what we’ve done with Sundown Pastoral.
In this case, the scale up project would look to employ approximately 40 additional employees — with a diversification of roles beyond pure agricultural work.
What are the benefits to the local economy?
Australia’s hydrogen industry is at an inflection point, which is forecast to generate $50 billion in additional GDP, and create more than 26,000 direct and indirect jobs by 2050.
Through the GEGHA project, Moree has the chance to lead by example and pave the way for a budding green economy.
Beyond the direct opportunities in construction and operational jobs that will arise from the plant, the project will contribute to the sustainability of primary production and business in the Moree region; and provide a platform for the low-carbon transition, and a foundation for economic stability and opportunity.
The GEGHA project will result in direct abatement of over 17,000t CO2 equivalent per annum. This is in addition to substantial indirect abatement and safety benefits associated with reduced shipping and heavy vehicle emissions required to transport fertiliser and diesel.
Will there be export benefits? The Good Earth Cotton farm perhaps?
The GEGHA project, which will prove the commercial viability of low-carbon fertiliser production, is positioned to provide significant export benefits to Australian farmers. Already, the production of green hydrogen and ammonia on Sundown Pastoral’s farm is set to cut emissions from on-farm diesel machinery and fertiliser manufacturing to almost nil.
This puts farmers who utilise green hydrogen ahead when it comes to the attractiveness of exports. ESG credentials are changing the way the textile industry operates and projects like ours pave the way for a new revenue stream for cotton growers.
New European legislation, for example, requires every garment from 2025 sold in the European Union to be traceable with a carbon score on its label. These requirements will make green cotton far more attractive to textile companies, and much more lucrative for farmers who can meet them. Those who don’t meet the requirements will be taxed, so growers who can offer a way around this will be at a significant advantage.
How will green hydrogen assist Australia in reaching its net-zero targets? Overall, how much of an assistance will green hydrogen bring?
Australia’s agriculture industry is a core pillar of the economy and one that, historically, has been targeted for its greenhouse outputs. The GEGHA project’s production of anhydrous ammonia fertiliser comes at an important time for the Australian agricultural sector, as global consumers start to demand sustainable food and fibre, and governments urgently seek reductions in carbon emissions.
Our partnership with Sundown Pastoral Co exemplifies how Australia can decouple agriculture from fossil fuel-driven fertiliser production, while also providing a credible pathway for heavy trucking to transition to low emission transport using hydrogen and deliver on-farm emissions reduction for the agricultural sector with alternatives to fossil fuels such as LPG and diesel.
We will also capture the water runoff from the solar farm to feed the hydrogen plant. If we were to apply this circular model to a much larger industry scale, the impact on Australia’s carbon footprint would be significant and would help accelerate us to our net-zero goals.