QEM (ASX:QEM) advances green hydrogen strategy for Julia Creek vanadium and oil shale project


by Michael Luu

QEM Limited (ASX:QEM) Managing Director Gavin Loyden provides an update on the company's flagship 100%-owned Julia Creek vanadium and oil shale project in North Queensland.

Michael Luu: Hi. This is Michael Luu for the Finance News Network. Today we're joined by Managing Director of QEM (ASX:QEM), Gavin Loyden. Hi, Gavin, and welcome back to the network.

Gavin Loyden: Hi, Michael. Thanks again for having us, and it's a pleasure to be here.

Michael Luu: Great. So, first off, QEM is developing a dual vanadium and oil shale project in Julia Creek in North West Queensland. Could you give us an update on the project?

Gavin Loyden: The project is progressing quite well at the moment. We've conducted some recent testing, and we'll be making some announcements around that over the next few days, as a matter of fact. That's going to lead us towards finalising the design of the pilot plant. We're just putting the final touches to that at the moment, and looking to then start to order those parts and to start to get that project put together.

Michael Luu: Thanks, Gavin. What's the rationale behind hydrogen production?

Gavin Loyden: Hydrogen is an integral part of what we're doing at Julia Creek, or intend to do at Julia Creek. It's used to hydrogenate the raw oil that we produce and bring that up to a diesel specification without the need for total refining.

Michael Luu: Could you talk us through how hydrogen is produced? And what special techniques do you apply to production at QEM?

Gavin Loyden: Hydrogen is produced from water electrolysis, and we have plenty of water access where we are in Julia Creek. It may not look like it at surface, but there is water available. The process doesn't use a great deal of water anyway. It's basically using water from any source, and it can be wastewater. That water is then filtered, electrolysed, which splits the water molecule into hydrogen and oxygen, and we will be using the oxygen component as well from this electrolyser. That's the essence of it. It'll be green hydrogen, because what we'll be doing is using solar and wind as the form of energy to support this project.

Michael Luu: And let's not forget about the vanadium and oil aspects of the project as well. Could you give us an update on that?

Gavin Loyden: Vanadium has obviously always been the key objective in this project. The vanadium is actually contained within the oil shale unit, so we do have to extract that oil first to get a good result from the extraction for the vanadium. Vanadium obviously has a wide range of uses, redox batteries being one of the most significant going forward.

Michael Luu: In terms of news flow, what do you expect to arrive in the coming time?

Gavin Loyden: We'll be focusing on the finalisation and procurement of the pilot plant. That's going to give us access to a lot more material to finalise some of the optimization work that we need to do on the vanadium extraction. We think we've got the oil side of it pretty much covered. We'll have some study work coming back from DNV Australia, who is doing a wind and solar study for us in Julia Creek. We've got some interesting results in the first instance. We're waiting for the final report. Beyond that, we've got SECAP working with us to help roadmap this project going forward, so it will have very clear and defined milestones along the way, and we'll be able to disclose those to the market as we're going and hopefully tick those boxes on the way through.

Michael Luu: Fantastic. Gavin Loyden, thank you for your insights, and we look forward to hearing more updates from you in the future.

Gavin Loyden: Thanks Michael.


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