Sun Metals, Queensland: The ‘Perfect case study on Australian Industry Decarbonisation
Sun Metals, Queensland is a zinc refinery in Townsville, partly powered by a 125MW solar farm it built in 2018. The solar farm is the largest industrial solar project in Australia and covers one third of the refinery’s energy needs. In June 2020 CEO Kiwon Park announced they’d be building a renewable hydrogen plant, as part of the company’s long term plans for totally integrated operations, and in what they hope will be the first stage of a renewable export industry based in Townsville.133 The Queensland government has provided a $5 million grant towards the hydrogen project, as part of its $19m hydrogen strategy, which aims to position Queensland as a world leader in renewable hydrogen.
CSIRO recently estimated green hydrogen could be cost-competitive with existing industrial feedstock such as gas in many applications. With adequate policies it is more likely green hydrogen will become the least cost option. Bloomberg recently estimated hydrogen technology can be competitive with coal-based plants for steel production by 2030.