Countrywide Hydrogen (CH) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of ASX-listed ReNu Energy Limited, an Australian company with a focus on originating renewable hydrogen production opportunities at home and abroad.
CH coordinates the development of projects with support from expert consultants in engineering, modelling, technology, environmental impact, grant funding, legal and financial services, and project partners.
With pipeline projects located in different parts of the world, CH’s preference is to engage local experts and consultants on referral and on a project-by-project basis to optimise the injection of investment in a local economy. We also believe that local knowledge is far superior to discovered knowledge.
CH builds projects on selected pillars which, when delivered, attract project partners to support investment from the perspectives of project development, capex funding, active participation, and offtakes.
With a background in the renewable energy sector spanning three decades, in the 2010s CH’s co-founder, Geoffrey Drucker originated the company’s first large-scale solar project in Victoria. At that time, the business was known as Countrywide Renewable Energy (CRE) with a broader focus in the renewable space.
A paper released by Australia’s Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel, identified the opportunity renewable hydrogen offers to the nation particularly to export energy to the burgeoning north Asian markets of Japan and Korea. With state and Federal Government support for the establishment of renewable hydrogen industries, CRE focused on Tasmania as a location for a project because of the state’s abundance of hydroelectricity and wind power, deep water port options, favourable energy prices and an agile government willing to collaborate on a project.
With a pipeline of project opportunities in Australia and offshore, each project under the CH banner is held within its own special purpose vehicle (SPV).
CH will continue to collaborate with Governments, partners, suppliers and OEMs to develop opportunities for renewable hydrogen to significantly reduce emissions in road transport, natural gas supply, power generation and industrial applications such as steel production. Securing offtakes is a key focus for all projects and with the world progressing hydrogen as the fuel of the future, CH is well placed to make a major contribution as a green hydrogen producer and supplier with projects that have a long-term life.
The company advocates the future for renewable hydrogen is significant believing the transition from diesel and other carbon fuels will accelerate as the production and supply of hydrogen becomes more prolific and cost-effective.
- Geoffrey Drucker,
- Inge Drucker,
- Andrew Catchpole,
Project Lead, Tasmania
Countrywide has two projects progressing in Tasmania, one at Bell Bay near George Town in the north, and the second at Brighton in the south near Hobart.
Located in the Bell Bay Advanced Manufacturing Zone, the Bell Bay project involves a 10 MW pilot project producing 4.5 tonnes per day of hydrogen to supply the domestic market, targeting the road transport sector, the Tasmanian gas network operated by Tas Gas, and supplying industrial customers.
While smaller in scale at up to 2MW, the Brighton project is unique in that it will complete the Brighton Regional Resource Recovery Precinct by producing and supplying green hydrogen to Hobart’s natural gas network and directly to industrial customers. Buses and trucks will also be supplied with hydrogen either at a refuelling station as part of the Precinct, or delivered to their respective depots.
Countrywide is working closely with Renewables, Climate and Future Industries Tasmania (ReCFIT) and the State Government to showcase Tasmania globally as a hydrogen state. Being a compact island state with an abundance of renewable energy and more coming on stream, Tasmania can eventually become self-sufficient across all its energy needs with a suite of home-produced clean fuels for propulsion, power generation and heat.
Supplying green hydrogen to domestic customers will create investment in infrastructure such as refuelling stations and fuel cell service centres, develop new skills in the maintenance and service of fuel cell vehicles and eliminate emissions while reducing the Tasmania’s reliance on imported fuels.
Melbourne Hydrogen Hub
The genesis of the Melbourne Hydrogen Hub (MHH) project was a request from the Bus Association of Victoria for CRH to supply renewable hydrogen for up to 40 transit buses to be introduced onto Melbourne’s roads progressively from the end of 2023. That number is now 90 buses with more expected to adopt the emission-free transition.
The project will be located in Melbourne’s northern suburbs, a road transport corridor. Interest has also been expressed by a major natural gas company to blend MHH hydrogen into their distribution network.
The Hub will comprise renewable hydrogen production, vehicle refuelling, service and maintenance, injection into the natural gas network, and a fuel cell bus fabrication plant that will supply buses to the participating companies.
In collaboration with a major electricity and gas utility, CH is also developing a renewable hydrogen project at Portland in Victoria’s southwest. Stage 1 of the project will be a 10MW electrolyser supplying hydrogen to the local mobility and gas markets. The second stage will expand the project to at least 250MW to supply hydrogen or hydrogen derivatives to the export markets of Japan and Korea where there is strong interest in collaboration from their respective trading companies.
Portland was selected as a project site because of its strong electrical infrastructure that was established to support Alcoa’s aluminium smelter, the Port of Portland’s infrastructure and the scale of wind projects in the area now and in the future.
The Way We Do Business
The Countrywide Hydrogen Way was developed to ensure that all its stakeholders know and understand the values and principles that underpin the way the company conducts its business activities and interacts.
Countrywide Hydrogen (CH) promotes open, honest and direct communication, consultative decision-making and the energetic pursuit of excellence in all aspects of its operations and activities.
The following values are central to the Countrywide Hydrogen Way and everyone directly associated with the business will commit to strive to ensure that these values are delivered.
- Key decisions will involve consultation and discussion with those who should and could provide input
- The truth will be paramount
- There will be no surprises
- Communication will be open, honest and direct
- We listen to understand, absorb and remember
- Collectively and individually, a high level of integrity and professionalism will be demonstrated
- All will strive to grow and develop the business and its reputation
- Results oriented, CH will focus on defining, measuring and evaluating performance
- For CH to perform and deliver outcomes, activities undertaken will focus on those outcomes being achieved
- Internal and external relationships will be fostered to be mutually beneficial and based on equality, respect, trust and a commitment to individual development, wellbeing and profit
- Behaviour and performance that reflects the pursuit of quality and continual improvement will be encouraged and rewarded
- Experience will be the basis for continued learning and instruction
- CH will demonstrate the best qualities of true partner relationships