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‘Historic’ pilot launches ambitions for low-carbon economies
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‘Historic’ pilot launches ambitions for low-carbon economies

Australia and Japan have partnered to fund a new pilot project that will work on a plant which is capable of creating liquefied hydrogen from brown coal.

Firms: Clayton Utz (Hydrogen Engineering Australia and Kawasaki Heavy Industries)

Deal: Kawasaki Heavy Industries will lead a pilot project to develop a plant in Victoria’s LaTrobe Valley, which aims to help countries transition to low-carbon economies.

Value: Undisclosed

Area: Corporate, energy and resources, projects

Key players: Clayton Utz advised KHI and the company’s wholly owned subsidiary Hydrogen Engineering Australia (HEA), which has been chosen to co-ordinate the Australia-Japan plant project.

Partners Steve O'Reilly and Hiroyuki Kano led the legal team advising KHI and HEA “on almost all the legal aspects of the project, including advising on regulatory approvals strategy, consortium structuring and documentation, contract documentation, amongst others,” the firm said.

Deal significance: A new partnership between Australia and Japan has resulted in the Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC) project based in Victoria’s LaTrobe Valley, which was officially launched last week.

The HESC project will see the development of a pilot plant, where liquefied hydrogen will be created from brown coal. 

The launch event was attended by a list of high profile Australian politicians, including Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, as well as Japanese Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Daisuke Hiraki and; Japan's Ambassador to Australia H.E. Sumio Kusaka.

A statement provided by Clayton Utz lead partners Steve O’Reilly and Hiroyuki Kano said that the site was a landmark project for both Australia and Japan. They described the HESC project as a collaborative effort to address the challenges of adapting to a new energy future.

“This is a landmark project for Japan and Australia. Japan has a national energy security issue, whereas for Australia, the concern is finding a better way to use high-emission brown coal,” the partners said.

“The HESC project is historic in that it brings together the two countries in finding a solution that will help both in addressing their respective energy issues.”

The HESC project aims to develop a supply chain for low-emissions hydrogen, which has huge potential as an identified low-carbon source. Mr O’Reilly and Mr Kano added that the success of the plant would help other nations who were looking to find viable energy sources for the future.

“If successful, the pilot project has the potential to ease the way for low-emission hydrogen to become a viable new energy source not just in Australia and Japan, but globally, and help reduce carbon emissions. 

“We're proud to be a part of it,” they said.

Clayton Utz indicated that it would continue to act for KHI and HEA in relation to the implementation of the pilot project over the next few years.

Pictured above: Rob Cutler, Steve O'Reilly and Hiro Kano with KHI representatives including (middle) Shigeru Murayama, chairman of the board of KHI.

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