The energy is there. Now it’s time for execution.

There is clear enthusiasm from European companies in the emerging Australian hydrogen industry, with the focus now turned to the execution of projects. This was the key takeaway from the Hydrogen & Fuel Cells conference in Madrid last week, where Investment Director Joe Doleschal-Ridnell presented on South Australia’s competitive advantages in the field. Projects underway in the state include;

  • A power-to-gas project to inject hydrogen into the local natural gas network
  • A green hydrogen plant at Port Lincoln, which includes a 15MW electrolyser and ammonia production plant, a 10MW hydrogen-fired gas turbine and 5MW hydrogen fuel cell
  • Solar and wind hydrogen hub, including 150MW of solar and 125MW of wind producing 25,000kg of hydrogen a day. This would be the largest co-located hydrogen production facility in the world
  • Incorporation of a 50kW hydrogen fuel cell and associated electrolyser at the University of South Australia’s renewable generation and energy storage facility

A key strength for South Australia is in its high renewable generation penetration, meaning that hydrogen production on the grid will be much less emissions intensive compared to other states. For co-located projects, South Australia also has amongst the best wind and solar resources in the country.

The need for low emissions energy is a key demand driver for hydrogen. Nearby markets will be fundamentally important to Australia, including Japan and South Korea. The former is using the 2020 Olympic Games to showcase the credentials of hydrogen as an energy source and has ambitions of importing 300,000 tonnes of hydrogen (equivalent to 770,000 tonnes of LNG) by 2030.

Australia’s ambition and focus is built on a strong history of energy exports throughout the Asia Pacific, including coal, uranium, and natural gas. Being a trusted trading partner, low sovereign risk, having existing infrastructure and expertise, and an abundance of renewable energy and low-cost fossil-fuel resources with carbon sequestration sites makes Australia an ideal export partner.

At a national level, The Chief Scientist Alan Finkel has developed an ongoing Program of Work through his Chairing of the Hydrogen Strategy Group. There are six different working streams – hydrogen exports, hydrogen for transport, hydrogen in the gas network, hydrogen for industrial users, hydrogen to support electricity systems, and cross-cutting issues. A key focus for the Chief Scientist is working to address the classic chicken-and-egg problem. Elements such as electricity generation, carbon sequestration, pipelines, electrolysers, refuelling stations and regulations depend on progress in the others. The working groups, which will include representatives across the different states and territories, will provide leadership and policy certainty to help businesses across the hydrogen value chain make collective progress.

If you’re interested in knowing more about hydrogen in Australia, please contact Joe Doleschal-Ridnell on +44 (0) 7428 416 841.