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State-funded $2 million puts Goondiwindi Region just one step away from pioneering renewable hydrogen project

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The Goondiwindi Region is just one step away from pioneering a new project that will turn residential wastewater into clean green hydrogen energy.

Mayor of the Goondiwindi Region the Honourable Cr Lawrence Springborg AM said the project has the potential to put the Goondiwindi Region at the forefront of renewable solutions and save ratepayers tens of millions of dollars.

Goondiwindi Regional Council has successfully secured $2 million in funding from the Queensland Government’s Hydrogen Industry Development Fund (HIDF) towards the Goondiwindi Hydrogen Project, which would make the Goondiwindi Region one of the first areas in Australia to produce and utilise hydrogen for local use.

The proposed project will pioneer the integration of hydrogen production with wastewater treatment. The new hydrogen production facility at the Goondiwindi wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) would use electrolysis, generated by a new 2.5 megawatt (MW) solar plant, to break down the wastewater into hydrogen and oxygen.

The hydrogen would be sold on to local businesses, including processors of agricultural commodities and heavy industry, as an alternative energy source. The oxygen by-product would go back into aerating the wastewater, improving the WWTP’s efficiency and providing a cleaner operation at a lower cost.

Cr Springborg said the trailblazing project would enable a dramatic cost reduction in future critical infrastructure investment and help to “future-proof” the WWTP in Goondiwindi.

“We’re very excited as we’ll be one of the first councils in the country to expand into renewable hydrogen production specifically for the local economy,” the Mayor said. “It’s an innovative way of turning what was a waste product into a renewable energy source for local industry, while increasing the quality of our wastewater treatment.

“It’s a win-win for residents, as the project will extend the life and efficiency of our WWTP while saving ratepayers potentially tens of millions in costs of replacing existing aging infrastructure, as well as reduce ongoing operational expenses,” he said. “Council had already identified several major upgrades that would be required at the Goondiwindi WWTP over the next 10 years - and those requirements would potentially cost Council more than $20 million to realise.

“However, by looking to pioneer this innovative project in partnership with private enterprise and the state government, we will instead be able to achieve the outcomes we want at a greatly reduced cost. I really want to thank the Queensland government for their generous $2 million contribution towards this project.”

The state government funding marks an important step in the viability project, worth up to $20 million, which Council is pursuing in partnership with the Hydrogen Collective (H2C) and the Queensland University of Technology (QUT). Council has allocated $3.5 million towards the upgrades required at the Goondiwindi WWTP for the project, with the remaining private sector funding now confirmed.

H2C would manage the production and sale of the project’s hydrogen and has already consulted with several large industrial businesses in Goondiwindi who have shown interest in using hydrogen.

It’s estimated that it could produce and supply up to 1,350 tonnes of hydrogen per year to local industry including cotton gins, feedlots and manufacturing companies – but in line with the growing global demand for hydrogen, Cr Springborg said Council has already received demand for more hydrogen than the project was originally planning to produce.

"As is becoming abundantly clear, hydrogen is a fuel of the future with growing demand for hydrogen and other renewables,” Cr Springborg said. “This project will put the Goondiwindi Region at the forefront of that technology, and I have already received numerous enquiries from other councils - this model, and the opportunity for public-private partnership, could be transformational for local government.”

The final step in the project’s viability will be a full, detailed design, with costings, to ensure feasibility.

30th May 2022 at 12:00 AM