Rio Tinto, Sumitomo to build hydrogen plant in Australia



Rio Tinto is partnering with Sumitomo Corp. to build a green hydrogen production facility in Australia as part of an A$111 million ($74.64 million) project to reduce carbon emissions from the alumina refining process.

Japan’s Sumitomo Corp. is building a 2.5 MW renewable hydrogen pilot plant in Gladstone, Queensland, as part of Rio Tinto’s plans to test the use of hydrogen as a substitute for gas in the calcination process.

Rio Tinto, which is trying to minimize carbon emissions from its Yarwun alumina refinery, said the Yarwun Hydrogen Calcination Pilot Demonstration Program is the first deployment of hydrogen calcination technology of its kind.

The project consists of a 2.5 MW on-site electrolyser, hydrogen storage and a hydrogen-fueled burner retrofit to one of the refinery’s four calciners, which are large industrial furnaces used in alumina refining. The project is funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

Sumitomo owns and operates the 2.5 MW electrolyser and supplies hydrogen to Rio Tinto. No details were given about the plant’s power source, but Sumitomo said the electrolyser has an annual production capacity of more than 250 tonnes of renewable hydrogen.

The company said it has already completed its front-end design and engineering (FEED) study, and construction is scheduled to begin in 2024. The hydrogen plant is expected to be completed in 2025.

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David is a passionate writer and researcher who specializes in solar energy. He has a strong background in engineering and environmental science, which gives him a deep understanding of the science behind solar power and its benefits. David writes about the latest developments in solar technology and provides practical advice for homeowners and businesses who are interested in switching to solar.

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