The Federal Government and ARENA made a significant investment announcement last week for the future of hydrogen in Australia.
One facet of Australia’s evolving energy mix is hydrogen, and particularly renewable hydrogen (produced from surplus electricity from wind and solar or biomass), which is being touted as an ideal supply solution for the domestic market, and a highly sought after export product.
Hydrogen energy can be stored as a gas and delivered through natural gas pipelines and also transported across land and sea when converted to liquid form. Electrical energy can be converted into hydrogen via electrolysis that separates hydrogen from oxygen in water, and when produced using renewable electricity, is entirely emissions free.
The domestic and foreign opportunities inherent in such a flexible product (amongst other factors) has spurred local governments and now the Federal Government on to start investing in Australia’s hydrogen industry. Following the release of the National Hydrogen Strategy, the Government has announced it’s launching a funding package focused on growing an innovative, safe and competitive hydrogen industry in Australia.
Along with the $13.4 million already provided to implement and coordinate the Strategy, the Government will reserve $370 million from existing Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) funding to back new hydrogen projects.
ARENA advised in their media release that they will investigate funding (up to $70 million) for projects that involve commercial scale deployments of electrolysers, particularly over 10 Megawatts (MW) in scale, to drive the commercialisation of key component technologies and facilitate cost reductions for producing renewable hydrogen.
ARENA CEO Darren Miller stated that while Australia is in a good position to become a major exporter of renewable hydrogen, the funding will help to kickstart a domestic hydrogen industry, by reducing the cost of producing renewable hydrogen at scale.
The potential for hydrogen is being recognised nationwide. The state government in Western Australia recently established a $10 million Renewable Hydrogen Fund to facilitate private sector investment in the industry.
It’s certainly an exciting time for the hydrogen industry in Australia, and this investment and commitment is creating a number of supply and development opportunities within our ever evolving industry. For more detail on hydrogen check out our recent podcast on the topic.