$370m earmarked for developing hydrogen industry

The Australian government has committed funding to develop the nation’s hydrogen industry, following the release of chief scientist Alan Finkel’s report into the potential of the energy source for Australia.

$370 million from the budgets of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) will go towards developing technology to extract and utilise hydrogen.

$300m from the CEFC will be distributed in concessional loans under the Advancing Hydrogen Fund, and ARENA will provide $70m for electrolyser technology. Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, Angus Taylor, noted that the National Hydrogen Strategy has set the direction for the government to provide funding for hydrogen.

“The Government is backing that in through project investment to promote our outstanding potential as a hydrogen supplier to the world,” he said.

While hydrogen could be used locally in applications from transportation to industrial heat, developing a local hydrogen industry could also lead to an energy export industry, said Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Matt Canavan.

“There is potential for thousands of new jobs, many in regional areas, and billions of dollars in economic growth between now and 2050, with key energy export markets such as Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan taking action to diversify their energy sources,” he said.

To deliver the new technologies that will be required for the transformation of hydrogen into a useable energy source, National Energy Resources Australia (NERA) will develop industry clusters connecting manufacturers who have technologies that could be utilised by the nascent hydrogen sector with researchers from Australian research organisations. NERA CEO, Miranda Taylor, noted that the development of a hydrogen industry represented an opportunity for the wider industry sector.

“Now is the time to connect and build our underlying hydrogen knowledge economy and help our local innovators overcome barriers to market activation through collaboration between industry, governments, researchers, innovators and SMEs.