The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has concluded its assessment of a proposal by LINE Hydrogen (Australia) Pty Ltd for a Hydrogen Production Facility at Main Road, George Town, in the George Town municipality. The proposal was referred to the Board in August 2022.
The proposal involves construction and operation of a 7.6 MW green hydrogen production facility. Hydrogen is described as green when it is obtained using a method that does not produce greenhouse gas emissions. The facility will be predominantly powered by a solar farm operated by a third party and will produce up to 1,241 tonnes per year of hydrogen by electrolysis, requiring up to 15,687 kilolitres per year of water as the source of hydrogen. The hydrogen will be captured, stored as a gas, and made available for vehicle refuelling and other applications such as energy production. The proponent also intends to capture the oxygen produced as a byproduct.
The Chair of the EPA Board, Andrew Paul, said that the Board concluded the proposed development could be managed in an environmentally sustainable and acceptable manner, with certain conditions. The Board requires these conditions to be included in any permit subsequently granted by the George Town Council.
“Without the appropriate controls, hydrogen is considered a potentially environmentally hazardous substance due to it being extremely flammable when mixed with air and posing a very significant explosion and fire risk. Hydrogen also degrades metals leading to potential leakages from equipment containing hydrogen. As a consequence, there are numerous legislative requirements, Australian Standards and codes which will apply to the facility and will be overseen by the Director of Gas Safety, WorkSafe Tasmania and the Tasmania Fire Service. With those risks appropriately managed the remaining environmental issues are minor and can be appropriately mitigated," Andrew Paul said.
Three representations were received in relation to the permit application. The environmental issues raised in these representations related to noise emissions, safety issues associated with hydrogen production and wastewater management. Public consultation was open for 14 days from 22 April 2023.
The proposal was considered by the Board in the context of the sustainable development objectives of the Resource Management and Planning System of Tasmania (RMPS), and in the context of the objectives of the Environmental Management and Pollution Control System (EMPCS) established by the
Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act 1994 (EMPCA).
The functions of the Board are to administer and enforce the provisions of EMPCA, to further the RMPS and EMPCS objectives and, in particular, to use its best endeavours to protect the environment of Tasmania. The Board undertook the assessment of the proposal in accordance with the Environmental Impact Assessment Principles defined in Section 74 of the Act. The Board's environmental assessment report, including the environmental conditions, has been issued to LINE Hydrogen (Australia) Pty Ltd, and George Town Council.
The decision by the EPA Board can be viewed at
LINE Hydrogen (Australia) Pty Ltd, George Town Hydrogen Production Facility.