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Black & Veatch to study extraction of natural hydrogen in Australia

Black & Veatch, a global leader in critical infrastructure solutions, will study the exploration and extraction of natural hydrogen and helium in Australia.

The development study is an engineering services agreement between Australian-owned natural hydrogen company H2EX Limited and Black & Veatch. The study is part of an Australian Federal Government-funded project led by H2EX.

Natural hydrogen, also known as gold or white hydrogen, refers to hydrogen found in its natural form as a free gas.

Decarbonization efforts in the Asia Pacific are a priority for Black & Veatch. This includes extracting natural hydrogen, a potential clean energy source for the region. Black & Veatch has an 80-year history working with hydrogen and ammonia production in multiple industries. The company developed the first hydrogen power generation conversion project and the first major hydrogen fueling station deployment in the United States. Since then, our experts have continued to deliver reliable innovation and first-of-a-kind solutions across the hydrogen value chain.

—Yatin Premchand, managing director, Strategic Growth, Global Advisory, Black & Veatch

Black & Veatch will provide two concept designs on H2EX’s exploration license PEL 691 on the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia as part of the development study.

One concept design will be for the drilling and completion of an exploration well. The other concept design will be for surface facilities to purify, process and deliver natural hydrogen and helium, including co-production of the resources, if they are found together.

Black & Veatch will analyse gas industry practices related to conventional well drilling and extraction infrastructure and identify key considerations to adapt these practices for natural hydrogen and helium.

The research into extraction solutions will provide a pathway to drill and extract the lowest-cost hydrogen, which could be up to 75% more cost-effective than manufacturing hydrogen.

The objective of the study is to unlock first-mover benefits for Australia within an emerging sector globally, as well as create substantial local and export opportunities while retaining the country’s competitive advantage and technical and engineering expertise.

The study is partly funded by Australia’s Federal Department of Science and Innovation through its Cooperative Research Council Projects (CRC-P) Grants Round 14 initiative. The CRC-P grant supports short-term, industry-led research collaborations. The study is estimated to be completed by mid-2024.

The Australian Government is investing more than $500 million (US$326 million) to support the development of hydrogen hubs in regional Australia.


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