An economically sustainable hydrogen industry could soon be on the cards according to a blueprint released by CSIRO, the national science agency, which found that cost competitiveness is firmly on the horizon.
National Hydrogen Roadmap sets out a path to develop the action and investment plans required to realise the full benefits of a hydrogen economy. Hydrogen is a clean-burning fuel with a range of uses, from powering vehicles, to storing energy.
Hydrogen can service multiple markets and if produced using low-emissions energy sources, will enable deep decarbonisation across the energy and industrial sectors.
The roadmap findings include:
- Hydrogen technologies are reaching maturity, with the narrative now shifting from R&D to market activation.
- Hydrogen presents a new export opportunity for Australia and could also play a significant role in enabling the further uptake of renewable energy.
- While the benefits are clear, current barriers to market activation include a lack of supporting infrastructure such as hydrogen refuelling stations for transport, and the cost of hydrogen supply for some applications.
- An appropriate policy framework could create a ‘market pull’ for hydrogen, with investment in infrastructure then likely to follow.
- In or around 2025, clean hydrogen could be cost-competitive with existing industrial feedstocks such as natural gas, and energy carriers such as batteries in many applications.
CSIRO chief executive Dr Larry Marshall described the Roadmap as a unique opportunity.
“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.
“This National Hydrogen Roadmap provides a blueprint for growing Australia’s hydrogen industry through coordinated investment to be globally competitive.”
CSIRO Hydrogen Future Science Platform Director Dr Patrick Hartley said industry interest was evident.
“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.”
The national science agency consulted broadly to develop the Roadmap, which was sponsored by 21 industry and government body.