British energy giant BP and Macquarie Capital are assessing plans to transform the former site of Australia’s largest oil refinery into a clean-energy hub that could produce and distribute zero-emissions fuels including “green” hydrogen.
Nearly 12 months after announcing the closure of Perth’s 65-year-old Kwinana oil refinery saying it was no longer economically viable, BP has detailed plans to conduct a feasibility study to consider repurposing the site for manufacturing hydrogen.
The study would be conducted in partnership with Macquarie and partly funded by the WA state government, BP said.
“BP is committed to developing solutions that will help accelerate the energy transition in Australia,” BP Australia president Frédéric Baudry said.
“With our unique capabilities, BP can offer increasingly complex, multi-energy solutions to its partners and customers through their decarbonisation journey.”
Hydrogen, which burns cleanly and emits only water, is touted as an important growth technology as the transition to cleaner energy gathers pace due to its potential to decarbonise parts of the economy that cannot be easily electrified, such as a range of industrial processes and heavy transport.
Most of today’s hydrogen is limited to “grey hydrogen”, made from coal or gas via a process that emits carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Green hydrogen, on the other hand, is produced when a renewable energy-powered electrolyser is used to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.
John Pickhaver, co-head of Macquarie Capital Australia and New Zealand, said the company believed the Kwinana precinct could support a “meaningful green hydrogen industry”.