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Australia Working to Fuel a Clean and Bright Future

Image Credits: CSIRO, Press Release

Hydrogen, when mixed with oxygen, can be used as an emissions-free fuel source to generate electricity, power or heat. However, it is expensive to turn into fuel. The research mission will help drive down the cost of hydrogen production to under $2 per kilogram, making the fuel more affordable and helping to position Australia to lead the world in exporting hydrogen by 2030.

Over the next five years, more than 100 projects worth $68 million have been planned by partners including the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (DISER), Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), Fortescue Metals Group,  Swinburne University, the Victorian Government, the Future Fuels CRC, National Energy Resources Australia (NERA), and the Australian Hydrogen Council, along with two industry collaborators.

The CSIRO Chief Executive stated that the unique mission-based partnership was the key to creating a new industry for the future energy needs of Australia and the world.

“Australia can become a renewable energy leader through the production, use and export of hydrogen, but it will only become a reality if we break through the $2/kg barrier. That needs Australia’s world-class science working with CSIRO’s commercialisation expertise turning breakthrough science into real-world solutions,” the Chief Executive said.

“Taking a Team Australia approach is essential to creating the 8,000 jobs and $11 billion a year in GDP that hydrogen can contribute to Australia’s economy as we build back better from the impacts of COVID-19.”

The CEO of the Australian Hydrogen Council noted that the Mission came at a critical time for the emerging Australian hydrogen industry.

“We need a coordinated series of investments in industrial-scale research and demonstration activities, along with the supporting research and infrastructure that can bring the technologies that are available and emerging to the industry that needs to deploy them,” she said.

The Mission will focus on delivering four key programs of work, some of which have already begun:

  • Hydrogen Knowledge Centre to capture and promote hydrogen projects and industry developments across Australia.
    The first module, HyResource, was launched in September with NERA, the Future Fuels CRC and The Australian Hydrogen Council.
  • Feasibility and strategy studies to deliver trusted advice to government, industry and the community.
    This builds on recent hydrogen cost modelling and barrier analysis provided as part of developing the National Hydrogen Strategy.
  • Demonstration projects that validate hydrogen value chains and de-risk enabling technologies.
    Development is underway at a new facility in Clayton, Victoria, with Swinburne University and the Victorian Government.
  • Enabling science and technology through investment in breakthrough science, including a $20m partnership with Fortescue which focuses on the development and commercialisation of new hydrogen technologies.

The CSIRO Hydrogen Industry Mission Lead said that CSIRO was uniquely placed to drive this collaboration.

He noted that the goal of this Mission is to support the vision of a clean and competitive hydrogen industry for Australia by delivering research, development and demonstration partnerships that help make Australia’s hydrogen markets a reality.

The agency’s unique position at the nexus of research, government, and industry offers them the ability to bring together stakeholders, and their track record of partnering and leveraging research funds means that they can grow the new phase of the industry without the need for everyone to do it alone, he said.

About CSIRO’s Missions Program

Launched in August 2020, CSIRO’s Missions Program operationalises the six great challenges we face as a nation – our health and wellbeing, our food security and quality, our national security, the resilience of our environment, the sustainability of our energy and resources, and the future of our industries.

Missions, by their nature, have ambitious and far-reaching goals that are much larger than any one organisation. CSIRO is forming broad coalitions of multidisciplinary partners behind each one, which in addition to hydrogen, tackle formidable problems like antimicrobial resistance, transforming plastic waste, reducing the impact of drought, and helping business to navigate climate change uncertainty.

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