CSIRO and Partners Launch $68m Hydrogen Industry Mission

By May 26, 2021 5   min read  (881 words)

May 26, 2021 |

Fuel cells works, hydrogen, CSIRO, fuel cells

A new Hydrogen Industry Mission launched today by CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency will help support the world’s transition to clean energy, create new jobs and boost the economy.

Hydrogen, when mixed with oxygen, can be used as an emissions-free fuel source to generate electricity, power, or heat.

But it is expensive to turn into fuel.

The research mission will help drive down the cost of hydrogen production to under $2 per kilogram, making the fuel more affordable and helping to position Australia to lead the world in exporting hydrogen by 2030.

Over the next five years, more than  100 projects worth $68M have been planned by partners including Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (DISER), Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) , Fortescue Metals Group,  Swinburne University, the Victorian Government, the Future Fuels CRC, National Energy Resources Australia (NERA), and the Australian Hydrogen Council, along with collaborators Toyota and Hyundai.

CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall said the unique mission-based partnership was the key to creating a new industry for the future energy needs of Australia and the world.

“Australia can become a renewable energy leader through the production, use and export of hydrogen, but it will only become a reality if we breakthrough the $2/kg barrier. That needs Australia’s world class science working with CSIRO’s commercialisation expertise turning breakthrough science into real-world solutions,” Dr Marshall said.

“Taking a Team Australia approach is essential to creating the 8,000 jobs and $11 billion a year in GDP that hydrogen can contribute to Australia’s economy as we build back better from the impacts of COVID-19.”

CEO of the Australian Hydrogen Council Dr Fiona Simon said the Mission came at a critical time for the emerging Australian hydrogen industry.

“We need a coordinated series of investments in industrial-scale research and demonstration activities, along with the supporting research and infrastructure that can bring the technologies that are available and emerging to the industry that needs to deploy them,” Dr Simon said.

“Focussed efforts like the Hydrogen Industry Mission will help realise these goals, and the Hydrogen Council is delighted to be part of it.”

The Mission will focus on delivering four key programs of work, some of which have already begun:

  • Hydrogen Knowledge Centre to capture and promote hydrogen projects and industry developments across Australia.
    The first module, HyResource, was launched in September with NERA, the Future Fuels CRC and The Australian Hydrogen Council.
  • Feasibility and strategy studies to deliver trusted advice to government, industry and the community.
    This builds on recent hydrogen cost modelling and barrier analysis provided as part of developing the National Hydrogen Strategy.
  • Demonstration projects that validate hydrogen value chains and de-risk enabling technologies.
    Development is underway at a new facility in Clayton, Victoria, with Swinburne University and the Victorian Government.
  • Enabling science and technology through investment in breakthrough science, including a $20m partnership with Fortescue which focuses on the development and commercialisation of new hydrogen technologies.

CSIRO Hydrogen Industry Mission Lead Dr Patrick Hartley said CSIRO was uniquely placed to drive this collaboration.

“The goal of this Mission is to support the vision of a clean and competitive hydrogen industry for Australia by delivering research, development and demonstration partnerships which help make Australia’s hydrogen markets a reality,” Dr Hartley said.

“CSIRO’s unique position at the nexus of research, government, and industry gives us the ability to bring together stakeholders, and our track record of partnering and leveraging research funds means that we are able to grow this new phase of the industry without the need for everyone to do it alone.”

About CSIRO’s Missions Program

Launched in August 2020, CSIRO’s Missions Program operationalises the six great challenges we face as a nation – our health and wellbeing, our food security and quality, our national security, the resilience of our environment, the sustainability of our energy and resources, and the future of our industries.

Missions, by their nature, have ambitious and far-reaching goals that are much larger than any one organisation. CSIRO is forming broad coalitions of multidisciplinary partners behind each one, which in addition to hydrogen, tackle formidable problems like antimicrobial resistance, transforming plastic waste, reducing the impact of drought, and helping business to navigate climate change uncertainty.

Comments from science and industry leaders

Dr Alan Finkel: “As the Chair of the Australian National Hydrogen Strategy and the Australian Low Emissions Technology Roadmap, I was fortunate to be able to constantly tap into CSIRO’s expertise in hydrogen research. I am delighted that CSIRO has created a Hydrogen Industry Mission that will extend their existing strong commitment to helping the Australian hydrogen industry scale up export and domestic hydrogen opportunities.”

Dr Cathy Foley, Australia’s Chief Scientist : “We must be bold and ambitious when it comes to transitioning towards a low-emissions economy. Hydrogen is well placed to be a key element in this transition, but the emerging Australian hydrogen industry is at a critical stage. Research development and demonstration partnerships like we are seeing as part of CSIRO’s Hydrogen Industry Mission are vital to enabling the development and growth of this exciting new industry.”

Photo: CSIRO’s Larry Marshall, Vicky Au and Patrick Hartley pick up a hydrogen vehicle for testing new technologies

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