What is hydrogen energy?
Hydrogen is the most common chemical in the universe. It can be produced as a gas or liquid, or made part of other materials, and has many uses such as fuel for transport or heating, a way to store electricity, or a raw material in industrial processes.
When it is produced using renewable energy or processes, hydrogen becomes a way of storing renewable energy for use at a later time when it is needed.
Hydrogen energy can be stored as a gas and even delivered through existing natural gas pipelines. When converted to a liquid or another suitable material, hydrogen can also be transported on trucks and in ships. This means hydrogen can also be exported overseas, effectively making it a tradable energy commodity.
Hydrogen in Australia
Like the rest of the world, the main use of hydrogen in Australia is as a raw material for industrial processes.
Renewable hydrogen use in Australia would help us to reduce emissions in those high-temperature industries as well as some transport sectors.
Several scientific and government reports have also found that hydrogen produced in Australia could be sold to the world. One report produced for us, Opportunities for Australia from Hydrogen Exports, calculated that global demand for hydrogen exported from Australia could be over three million tonnes each year by 2040, which could be worth up to $10 billion each year to the economy by that time.
Researchers at the CSIRO have produced a National Hydrogen Roadmap for the development of a hydrogen industry in Australia, and the nation’s energy ministers are developing a National Hydrogen Strategy.
Explore hydrogen energy
How are we supporting hydrogen energy projects?
Our purpose is to improve the competitiveness of renewable energy technologies and increase the supply of renewable energy through innovation that benefits Australian consumers and businesses. By connecting investment, knowledge and people to deliver energy innovation, we are helping to build the foundation of a renewable energy ecosystem in Australia.
We provide funding support to help the renewable hydrogen industry overcome barriers to its further development, such as the high cost of producing renewable hydrogen, limited regulatory frameworks for applications such as use in the natural gas network, under-developed end-use markets and insufficient demand to attract investment in projects.
Our efforts make it possible for demonstration and pilot projects to investigate the use of renewable hydrogen in a range of end-use applications including blending into the natural gas grid, and for transport. These projects will test the viability of new business models and market entry strategies, develop innovative technology and demonstrate it in Australia, reduce costs across the supply chain and develop domestic end-use markets that will also help to establish an export market.
We support R&D in renewable hydrogen production, storage and use for energy, with the aim of delivering longer-term cost reductions and efficiency gains through innovative, disruptive technology developments. In September 2018, we announced an investment of $22.1 million in funding for 16 hydrogen research projects.
What do we look for in hydrogen energy projects?
- feasibility studies for projects involving 100+ MW electrolysers
- commercial-scale deployments involving 10-40+ MW electrolysers focused on industries and applications with large potential demand for hydrogen (e.g. ammonia production, power to gas, etc.) to drive the commercialisation of key component technologies
- demonstration-scale projects involving 1-10 MW electrolysers demonstrating new applications such as transport or remote area power systems with onsite hydrogen production and fuel cells/turbines replacing diesel generation, to drive the commercialisation for key component technologies
- projects or activities that support the implementation of the National Hydrogen Strategy
- projects that demonstrate or address issues with the use of hydrogen in industrial processes currently using fossil fuels (e.g. hydrogen as a fuel in boilers, kilns or other process heating applications, hydrogen as a reducing agent in steel manufacture).
We share knowledge, insights and data from our funded projects to help the renewable energy industry and other projects learn from each other’s experiences. Our projects capture high-quality quantitative and qualitative data and information, linked with the needs of the market, while respecting our recipients’ commercial and contractual rights.
A second aluminium producer will explore whether renewable energy can displace fossil fuels in their alumina refining process.
We take a closer look at the projects setting out to deliver some of the world’s largest hydrogen electrolysers.