Star Scientific, an Australian hydrogen R&D company, and Central Coast Industry Connect Limited (CCIC), a not-for-profit supporting the region’s manufacturing sector, have signed a MoU to pioneer the use of the former’s HERO technology and provide a carbon-free heat source for food manufacturing.
The new industry-led hydrogen cluster is being established on the Central Coast in NSW and will be known as the Central Coast Hydrogen Food Cluster. Star Scientific will work with food companies to provide carbon-free heat and CCIC will run the cluster and provide the governance structure and platform for collaboration.
This will be the first commercial application of HERO in the world, according to Star Scientific global group chairman Andrew Horvath.
“Food manufacturers all over the world are looking for solutions to remove carbon from industrial processes such as heating, drying and cleaning,” he said.
“The Central Coast region is home to some of Australia’s biggest household brands and global food manufacturers, many of whom are realising the potential of hydrogen and our HERO technology to meet their heating needs.
“We have already commenced work under this MoU providing heat for industrial-scale cleaning purposes in the food hub. This exciting work will demonstrate how our HERO can pave the way for Australian food manufacturers to reduce emissions.”
The NSW government recently named the Central Coast as a Renewable Energy Zone, and released a hydrogen strategy for the state. This is important for local manufacturers.
“Taking steps to decarbonise is important for the manufacturing sector as a whole, including food and beverage manufacturing,” CCIC executive director Frank Sammut said.
“Manufacturers have turned to renewable electricity sources to reduce their carbon footprint, but alternatives to gas for heating and cooking continues to be a challenge across a number of uses. The MoU with Star Scientific provides the opportunity for developing that alternative carbon free heat source.”
The Central Coast Hydrogen Food Cluster would be designed to be as inclusive as possible. The CCIC hope to engage and share knowledge with similar ventures emerging across Australia and New Zealand.
“Knowledge and skills sharing with similar clusters emerging around Australia and New Zealand is of paramount importance to increase efficiency around these processes,” Horvath said.
“In particular, we want this cluster to be an ‘incubator’ of regulatory issues for the hydrogen supply chain, and more specifically ‘green’ hydrogen made from renewable energy.
“Regulators are coming to grips with the use of green hydrogen and we hope the cluster will enable us to identify those issues early in the process and deal with them.”