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Exploring salt caverns for Australia’s hydrogen storage future


Australia has the right ingredients to become a global hydrogen superpower, according to new data from the federal government’s Exploring for the Future program.  

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Madeleine King, said scientists had uncovered the potential for large-scale, underground storage of hydrogen in salt caverns across the country.  

“We know that the technology exists to store hydrogen underground and thanks to this work, we now also know that Australia has the right geology to support the development of an economically viable hydrogen industry on our own soil,” King said. 

Geoscience Australia has uncovered potential for the development of multiple caverns underground in salt deposits across the Canning Basin in Western Australia, the Adavale Basin in Queensland and the offshore Polda Basin in South Australia.” 

According to King, a single large salt cavern could provide the same amount of energy storage as Snowy Hydro 2.0. 

“Hydrogen is a clean fuel and large-scale cost-effective storage of hydrogen will be essential in achieving our long-term goals for the future,” she said. 

“This new information captured by the Exploring for the Future program and other major discoveries demonstrate Australia’s monumental potential as a hydrogen superpower.” 

Underground hydrogen storage. Image credit: Geoscience Australia.

Using Geoscience Australia data, Chalice Mining uncovered a massive supply of palladium, platinum, nickel, copper, cobalt and gold just 70km northeast of Perth in the Gonneville deposit through its Julimar project. 

“Some of the minerals found in this deposit are essential to generating hydrogen, so it is fantastic that the world’s biggest discovery of such minerals in the last 20 years was in our own backyard in Western Australia,” King said.  

“An independent assessment of the impact of the Julimar project will be released at the showcase, highlighting the immense value of the work Geoscience does in supporting discoveries like Gonneville.” 

The $225 million Exploring for the Future program has been gathering precompetitive data about Australia’s geology since 2016.  

It puts key information in the hands of Australians, creating jobs for regional communities and enabling landholders, industry and government to make informed decisions. 

“We have already seen great value from precompetitive geoscience that has come from investments like the Exploring for the Future program, which identify areas of rich resource potential thereby decreasing the risks and accelerating exploration across Australia,” King said. “This work is vital to Australia’s low-emissions future.” 

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