Rio Tinto and Sumitomo Corp building hydrogen plant to cut alumina refining emissions

Rio Tinto and Sumitomo Corporation will build a first-of-a-kind hydrogen plant in Gladstone in a bid to lower carbon emissions in the alumina refining process.

The Yarwun Hydrogen Calcination Pilot Demonstration Program, part of a broad A$111m investment, received the green light after a A$32.1m co-funding boost from the federal government’s Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

It aims to demonstrate the viability of using hydrogen in the calcination process, where hydrated alumina is heated to temperatures of up to 1,000 degrees Celsius. Construction will start in 2024 and the hydrogen plant and calciner are expected to be in operation by 2025.

It involves construction of a hydrogen plant at the Yarwun refinery and the retrofit of refinery processing equipment. If successful, it could pave the way for adoption of the technology at scale globally.

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