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Firm hopes to make billions with new clean energy

A SUNSHINE Coast alternative energy company is on the verge of signing heads of agreement to unlock billions of dollars in financing that could set it up as Australia's next BHP.

It now has a target of producing one million domestic-scale, zero emission, hydrogen fuel cells a year for global markets.

Former architect and head of Beerwah-based Petawatt by Electrygen, Colin Salmond said today the overthrow of Tony Abbott as Prime Minister had been followed immediately by a changed attitude from investors and bureaucrats.

Petawatt, which has a goal to deliver Australia a gigatonne reduction in CO2 by producing one petawatt hour of hydrogen energy, has struggled for the past nine years under funding pressure and with technical issues.

In that time its goals have changed significantly while its investor base remained firmly committed.

Mr Salmond said the company was now considering two offers of significant funding that would finance its restructure into a global company.

Heads of agreement are still to be finalised but he anticipates funds to begin flowing from next April.

He anticipates that 53 Australian clients for everything from power purchasing agreements to marine and aeronautical applications would eventually generate 30,000 and a $2 billion boost to the Australian economy.

Colin Salmond and his Beerwah-based sustainable hydrogen company, Petawatt, is set to start its first $4.6m project. Note the blue box is a reverse electrolysis fuel cell. Photo: Brett Wortman / Sunshine Coast Daily
Colin Salmond and his Beerwah-based sustainable hydrogen company, Petawatt, is set to start its first $4.6m project. Note the blue box is a reverse electrolysis fuel cell. Photo: Brett Wortman / Sunshine Coast Daily Brett Wortman

Domestic-scale hydrogen fuel cell production would be of a scale that could not be managed on the Sunshine Coast; however Petawatt's research and development would remain based at Beerwah.

Professor Garnaut, the head of economics at Australian National University told the 6th World Hydrogen Technologies Convention last month that the use of hydrogen as an energy source could exploit Australia's solar and wind resources.

Petawatt's system uses solar and vertical wind turbine power to provide the catalyst that delivers hydrogen as a fuel source with only water as a by-product.

The CEO of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, Oliver Yates has also described hydrogen as the next big step towards seeing renewable energy rival and overtake fossil fuels.

"We like the hydrogen space, it is versatile, transportable and flexible … and it is economic in regional Australia right now,'' he told the world convention.

Mr Salmond said a great story was developing in Australia with even fossil fuel companies now looking to invest in the renewable sector.

"I'm astonished by the vision some great people in Australia now have,'' he said. "It's magic."

"We are hoping to be in demonstration mode by Christmas but there are still a lot of hoops to go through.

"People are coming to us now,'' he said.
"We are not chasing clients any more, we've chasing employees."

Topics:  renewable energy



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