ASX clean energy company Pure Hydrogen is successfully executing on its strategy to establish an integrated hydrogen ecosystem – covering investments in technology, manufacturing, infrastructure, and product development – as it takes a leadership role in Australia’s push to become a hydrogen superpower.

Pure Hydrogen (ASX:PH2) has been diligently focused on building a first-mover advantage in Australia’s ongoing clean energy transition.

And as its recent July investor presentation shows (see: ASX Announcement, July 7 2022), PH2 has been progressing well with its strategy to build a diversified clean energy business comprised of three main verticals – hydrogen gas operations, natural gas operations and hydrogen fuel cell technology.

For its hydrogen gas operations, PH2’s primary goal is to develop capabilities to produce three types of hydrogen – Green, Turquoise, and Emerald Hydrogen (described in further detail below), each of which is developing well.

At Pure Hydrogen’s first hydrogen production facility — located in Caboolture, Queensland — project funding and approvals are on track, and the facility is targeting production of 2.5 tonnes of hydrogen per day from the September quarter of 2023.

Other sites in Geelong and elsewhere in Australia are also being considered for the development of a hydrogen super-highway. In addition, the Company is looking to develop several larger hydrogen projects for the export market.

Within its hydrogen technology vertical, Pure Hydrogen in March signed a binding term sheet to develop Australia’s first hydrogen-fuelled garbage truck for domestic waste collection provider JJ’s Waste & Recycling.

Production of the vehicle continues to progress well and the company is aiming to commence trials in Queensland in December 2022.

As part of its development strategy, Pure Hydrogen also owns a 23% stake in leading Australian hydrogen technology company H2X Global Limited (H2X), which has a global production footprint and specialises in the development of hydrogen-powered vehicles.

Current interest in H2X’s Warrego ute is growing, with over 250 registered order-interests received from Australia and countries including the Netherlands, Germany and Malaysia.

On the gas front, the company has been conducting a strategic review of its gas portfolio, which includes significant gas resources in Queensland that give it an opportunity to leverage high gas prices. It also has a 30% interest-free-carried position in the Serowe Gas Project in Botswana and a 19.9% stake in Botala Energy (ASX:BTE), which recently listed on the ASX.

Speaking with Stockhead recently, Pure Hydrogen managing director Scott Brown provided a detailed rundown of the company’s project portfolio, as momentum builds into the second half of the year.

Brown also highlighted that the company is in a strong financial position, boasting a healthy cash balance of $11.8m as at 31 March – a figure which doesn’t include the extra $5.9m Pure Hydrogen expects to receive from the ATO.

It’s little wonder, then, that Brown reckons PH2 is well and truly ready to lay claim to a serious slice of the hydrogen pie in Australia.

The hydrogen value chain

The benefits of Hydrogen as a highly efficient zero-emissions fuel when used in fuel cells for transport and power generation are well known.

However, most hydrogen is manufactured using steam reforming of fossil fuels, which generates high CO2 emissions and is known as Grey hydrogen.

The goal of the Caboolture-based project is to develop capabilities to produce hydrogen through three different manufacturing methods, classified Green, Turquoise, and Emerald.

Green hydrogen is produced by electrolysis, using water and renewable electricity or produce the gas with zero carbon emissions.

Turquoise hydrogen offers similar sustainability results but is produced through a process known as methane pyrolysis, using natural gas and just 12.5% of the electricity required for electrolysis.

And the top shelf standard is Emerald hydrogen, which PH2 is aiming for, using biomass and heat to produce hydrogen on a net zero carbon emissions basis.

A/C Plasma Torch used to make Turquoise Hydrogen. Picture: Supplied
A/C Plasma Torch used to make Turquoise Hydrogen. Picture: Supplied

As lofty as those ambitions are, they represent a fraction of the work the Pure Hydrogen is doing – and there are some far more tangible projects on the way, that are going to be far easier to spot with the naked eye.

From production to powering vehicles

“In particular, the hydrogen fuel cell garbage truck for JJ’s Waste is an example of where our technology capabilities really give us a leadership position in the Australian market,” Brown says.

“We see very big potential there for having clean hydrogen fuel cell trucks that could pick up garbage throughout the country, because not only are you selling the truck, but you’re also selling the hydrogen deliveries as well.”

“By creating the truck, you create the demand, that’s why we see PH2 as an integrated hydrogen company.”

“It’s very much a circular economy, because one of the methods we have for making hydrogen is taking waste and then converting it to hydrogen, and you’re then having the hydrogen trucks pick up that waste for processing.”

The company expects to have a trial truck up and running later this year, and Brown says it really ticks the box in terms of being zero emissions – plus it’s much quieter than diesel.

“While those are great benefits, above all, it’s always about economics, and how much does it cost versus a traditional diesel truck,” he says.

“The price of diesel has gone up a lot, so we can do a hydrogen truck and supply the hydrogen a lot cheaper than you can with the traditional diesel truck.”

“Fundamentally, hydrogen is going to take over diesel. We’re going to eat their lunch because it has environmental benefits, and you get this cheaper, cost-effective way of transporting the things you need to move around.”

Not to mention that hydrogen could break into the electric vehicle market, with hydrogen fuel cells a supplementary power source to generate electricity.

And the hydrogen-powered garbage hauler forms a nice complement to the other vehicle developments taking place through PH2’s strategic interest in H2X.

H2X’s product suite includes its flagship Warrego SUV, due out for commercial release in Q4 2022, alongside a hydrogen-powered Van and its public transport initiative – the Taxi MPV Darling.

H2X is itself a well-recognised name in the world of hydrogen automotive and power units, and. Hear more about how the hydrogen fuel vehicle development is progressing in this interview with H2X founder and CEO Brendan Norman.

A mock-up of a trial hydrogen-powered garbage truck. Picture: Supplied

Staying busy

Those are just three of the projects that are keeping the team at Pure Hydrogen busy at present, with the company working on a number of other concurrent developments.

Additional projects include Pyre Hydrogen’s Serowe coal seam gas project in Botswana, where it recently upgraded third-party certified resources by a mouth-watering 96% to 315.7 billion cubic feet of gas.

Meanwhile, work continues apace at Pure Hydrogen’s multiple gas assets in Queensland, where it is working on existing plans to leverage high resource prices, as well as using its gas to manufacture Turquoise hydrogen in Caboolture.

The company is zeroing in on its method to use its gas to convert methane to hydrogen, carbon black and graphene.

“Graphene is a really useful and high-value commodity,” Brown says. “It’s used in batteries, it’s used as a building material, you can use it in concrete.”

“Essentially, it’s much stronger than steel, but it’s lighter – and is used in carbon fibre, for example.

“It could really revolutionise things, if we can come up with a manufacturing method that is low cost but ticks all those boxes and still has hydrogen as a by-product.”

Added to this the company still has natural gas operations – and its stake in Botala Energy – which Brown thinks are going to be extremely valuable, particularly with current high gas prices in Australia and Southern Africa.

Looking across its project suite, it’s little surprise that Brown and the PH2 executive team are excited about what the company can accomplish in the months and years ahead.

And with its strong cash balance and diversified product development strategy, the company remains on track to play a leading role as Australia – and the world – transitions to a clean energy economy.

Extracted in full form: How Pure Hydrogen is paving way in creation of Aussie hydrogen ecosystem (