The Victorian Government is set to invest $500,000 in a new feasibility study for Portland, which will determine the viability of establishing Australia’s first green shipping fuel manufacturing hub.  

Victorian Minister for Regional Development, Harriet Shing, announced the funding on 5 September, which is being invested through the State Government’s Portland Diversification Fund. 

The feasibility study will be led by Portland H2 – a subsidiary of HAMR Energy – towards establishing a plant converting plantation forestry residue to green methanol. 

The study includes preliminary engineering and planning for the plant that would also include a 100MW electrolyser to produce renewable hydrogen from water.

Shipping is responsible for more than 2 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions and the use of green methanol can reduce the carbon intensity by 90 per cent, when compared to heavy fuel oil that is currently used.

HAMR Energy said that it believes Portland is a prime location for a renewable methanol facility, located near Australia’s largest plantation forestry production area. 

As part of the feasibility study, it will investigate using plantation forestry residue, like harvest trimmings or damaged timber to produce green methanol.

Victorian Minister for Energy and Resources, Lily D’Ambrosio, said, “This announcement is another step forward for Victoria’s growing renewable hydrogen industry, which will support our renewable energy transition and assist in decarbonising hard-to-abate sectors, including shipping.”

Portland is also home to a deep-water port which sees 300 vessels and approximately five million tonnes of forestry product loaded each year.

This project is part of the Victorian Government’s broader $17.4 million Portland Economic Diversification Plan which is supporting long-term economic growth in the Glenelg Shire through community-led projects and planning.

The plan is part of the government’s investment of more than $41 billion in rural and regional Victoria since 2015, transforming and boosting local economics and generating jobs growth.

Ms Shing said, “We’re supporting the Portland community to grow its economy through projects that use its potential, prime location, natural resources, and skilled workforce.”

Member for Western Victoria, Jacinta Ermacora, also commented. 

“We’re making sure Portland has a strong and diverse economy and supporting projects like the Portland Renewable Fuels Project is part of our long-term plan to back the region,” Ms Ermacora said. 

HAMR Energy Director and Company Secretary, David Stribley, said, “HAMR Energy is excited to support the Government’s efforts to position Victoria as a leader in renewable energy production, and to accelerate the decarbonising of the global shipping industry.”

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