The company intends to implement this strategy into its Australian Vanadium Project in Western Australia.
Overall the mining industry has been making considerable steps towards a clean energy future, with companies such as Sandfire Resources at its DeGrussa mine solar plant and Gold Fields, with the installation of one of the world’s largest hybrid microgrids at the Agnew operation and a hybrid energy project at the Granny Smith mine.
In addition to electrification, carbon emissions are being reduced through a growth in the green hydrogen market.
Green hydrogen is produced by using an electric current, generated by a renewable energy source such as solar PV or wind, to break water into hydrogen and oxygen.
“Green steel opportunity”
Managing director Vincent Algar said: “The use of green hydrogen could allow AVL to reduce its carbon footprint and leverage both the economical and environmental benefits of this growing market.
“The green steel opportunity is one that WA should particularly embrace, with the potential for many jobs to be created and a globally competitive steel industry.
“This strategy can assist with environmental approvals and in attracting finance partners with an environmental, social and corporate governance focus, for AVL to bring the Australian Vanadium Project into production.”
Important steps to incorporate hydrogen
AVL’s strategy to incorporate hydrogen into its project includes the following areas:
- Introducing a percentage of green hydrogen into the natural gas feed for the processing plant. The purpose is to reduce carbon emissions. This will be analysed fully in the company’s bankable feasibility study.
- Offtake of ammonia from green hydrogen production for use in the final vanadium precipitation step of processing. The CSIRO is working on an ARENA, (the Australian Government’s Australian Renewable Energy Agency), funded project to develop a production process that does not contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.
- Powering mine site or haulage vehicles to move material from the mine site to the processing plant with green hydrogen. Hydrogen generation could be undertaken at the mine site and at the processing plant for refueling. This is a new area of development for Australia and will need to be fully assessed for its financial implications. AVL is keen to work with the Federal and State Governments and haulage companies who have a forward plan for this technology.
- The use of green hydrogen for steel production in the ore reduction step. AVL is seeking partnerships with companies interested in this area as it would be a noble and efficient use for the Fe-Ti co-product that the company plans to produce.
- Through AVL’s 100%-owned subsidiary, VSUN Energy, integrating hydrogen electrolysers in plant design, combined with energy storage utilising vanadium redox flow battery (VRFB) technology.
To support the Government of Western Australia’s plans for a green hydrogen economy, AVL has submitted a formal response to the request for expressions of interest for the Oakajee Strategic Industrial Area Renewable Energy Strategy.
Having a project located in the Mid-West region, with a variety of ways for AVL to incorporate green hydrogen means that the company is well-positioned to leverage the emerging hydrogen economy and its financial and environmental benefits.