The aim of this report is to flag the scope of Australia’s hydrogen potential and frame discussions for a national strategy. Industry has signalled its intention to invest but recognises the important role of governments at all levels in reaching out to global partners and establishing the right policy settings at home.
A fuel for the 21st century
Like natural gas, hydrogen can be used to heat buildings and power vehicles. Unlike natural gas or petrol, when hydrogen is burned there are no CO2 emissions. The only by-products are water vapour and heat. Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, not freely available as a gas on Earth but bound into many common substances including water and fossil fuels.
Hydrogen was first formally presented as a credible alternative energy source in the early 1970s but never proved competitive at scale as an energy source – until now. We find that the worldwide demand for hydrogen is set to increase substantially over coming decades, driven by Japan’s decision to put imported hydrogen at the heart of its economy.
Production costs are falling, technologies are progressing and the push for non-nuclear, low-emissions fuels is building momentum. We conclude that Australia is remarkably well-positioned to benefit from the growth of hydrogen industries and markets.