The CSIRO has released a blueprint for the development of an economically and environmentally-sustainable hydrogen industry in Australia that it says will enable decarbonisation across the nation’s energy and industrial sectors.
According to the CSIRO’s report, the National Hydrogen Roadmap, the ongoing maturation of hydrogen technologies – now moving from research and development to market activation – presents Australia with a new export opportunity and could also play a significant role in enabling the further uptake of renewable energy.
CSIRO chief executive Dr Larry Marshall described the Roadmap as a blueprint for growing a globally competitive hydrogen industry in Australia through coordinated investment.
“Australia has a unique and urgent opportunity to turn significant natural resources, including coal, gas, and renewables like solar and wind energy, into a low-emissions energy product and ship it around the world – in some cases literally exporting Aussie sunshine,” Marshall said.
“CSIRO is at the forefront of innovation with our partners in industry, government and the research sector, like our recently developed, world-first membrane to separate hydrogen from ammonia for fuel cell vehicles.”
While the report outlines several barriers to hydrogen market activation, including a lack of supporting infrastructure and the cost of hydrogen supply, it states that these barriers can be overcome via a series of strategic investments along the value chain from both the private and public sector.
Though the sector will require government assistance in its initial stages, the report finds that it can achieve long-term economic sustainability, competing favourably on a cost basis in local applications such as transport and remote area power systems by 2025. It further indicates that the industry could become a “game changer” for the local industry and the broader energy sector due to associated increases in scale.
The CSIRO’s report was sponsored by 21 industry and government bodies. Dr Patrick Hartley, CSIRO Hydrogen Future Science platform director, said that there was evidently high industry interest in the potentials of the hydrogen sector.
“We’ve established a strong network of partners and collaborators that support current, practical research and technology development initiatives right across the hydrogen energy value chain,” Dr Hartley said.
“And while much of the required technology is at a mature stage, there is considerable scope for further R&D to further improve process efficiencies and develop new applications.”