Hydrogen’s potential as an energy source continues to expand

On either side of Australia, announcements on July 18 and 19 pointed towards the growth of hydrogen as a potential energy source for local and international consumption.

In Western Australia, the WA government launched its Renewable Hydrogen Strategy while opening Canadian energy company ATCO’s Clean Energy Innovation Hub in Jandakot, south of Perth.

The Western Australian government is hoping to put the state at the forefront of renewable hydrogen production, with a $10 million Renewable Hydrogen Fund to encourage private sector investment. As part of the strategy, the government will explore the potential for export, the use of hydrogen in remote areas, the addition of hydrogen to natural gas networks, and its utility for fuel cell electric vehicles.

“Hydrogen is a means to export our world-class solar and wind resources, helping our international trading partners to meet their emissions reduction goals, as well as supporting our industries to transition to a lower carbon future and driving a new job-creating industry for our State,” said WA Regional Development Minister, Alannah MacTiernan.

At ATCO’s hub, hydrogen will be studied for its use as part of a diversified energy production landscape, and its low carbon potential. In addition, the hub includes a Hybrid Modular Home to test hydrogen use in domestic settings.

“It is very encouraging to see industry investing in new technologies and aiding research for a cleaner, greener energy future in Western Australia,” said WA Energy Minister, Bill Johnston.

In Victoria, construction has begun on a pilot hydrogen project that will see whether brown coal from the Latrobe Valley can be turned into hydrogen, for export to Japan.

The project is part of the Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain, a joint project between Australian government and companies and a group of Japanese corporations to produce and transport hydrogen from Victoria to Japan.

The project involves $500 million worth of investment, with the Victorian and federal governments contributing $50 million each.

“This pilot project is the first step in creating a commercial scale hydrogen supply chain which could lead to billions of dollars in export earnings for Australia and help Japan meet its strategic energy targets for 2030 and beyond,” said Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Simon Birmingham.

Across the nation, governments and businesses are pursuing hydrogen’s potential as a future energy source.