The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) has announced a new Hydrogen Industry Mission to help support the world’s transition to clean energy, creating new jobs and boosting the economy.
Launched in August 2020, CSIRO’s Missions Program operationalises some of the great challenges in Australia, including health and wellbeing, food security and quality, national security, environmental resilience, energy and resources sustainability, and the future of the country’s 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 tackle formidable problems like antimicrobial resistance, transforming plastic waste, reducing the impact of drought, helping business to navigate climate change uncertainty, and now, hydrogen.
When mixed with oxygen, hydrogen can be used as an emissions-free fuel source to generate electricity, power or heat. But it is expensive to turn into a 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 $68 million have been planned by partners including: The 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 and Boeing – research partners for more than 30 years – will also continue to explore hydrogen’s future use in the aviation industry.
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.
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 $20 million partnership with Fortescue which focuses on the development and commercialisation of new hydrogen technologies.