A new $90 million Future Fuels Cooperative Research Centre has been announced to undertake research and development to transition Australia’s energy infrastructure to a low-carbon economy using fuels such as hydrogen, biogas, methanol and ammonia.
The CRC will enable the Australian gas industry to provide a competitive, low-carbon energy alternative for residential, commercial, industrial and transport sectors to complement and support intermittent renewable electricity generation.
The Future Fuels CRC will conduct research across three integrated programs. The first will look into future fuels technologies, systems and markets, addressing technical, policy and commercial barriers to the increased use of future fuels and accelerating development of production technologies and end-use applications.
The second will address issues around safety and social acceptance of new fuels, so industry can more effectively design, build and operate projects needed to deliver Australia’s energy needs now and in the future.
The third will focus on the infrastructure itself, including the effect future fuels introduction will have on existing and new infrastructure. Research will address novel materials, design, installation, operations and maintenance, and re-purposing or decommissioning requirements.
These programs will be supported by an extensive education and training program. In addition to training up to 50 industry-ready PhDs, the CRC will deliver seminars, conferences and training for industry and the wider community. The Future Fuels CRC aspires to be at the centre of training for a whole new industry.
Six universities are collaborating on the Future Fuels CRC together with the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), two state-based energy regulators, and more than 60 companies through industry associations.
Future Fuels CRC participants are: University of Wollongong, University of Adelaide, University of Queensland, University of Melbourne, Deakin University, RMIT University, Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), Energy Safe Victoria, SA Department of Premier & Cabinet, Australian Pipelines & Gas Association Ltd (APGA), Energy Networks Australia Ltd (ENA), Gas Appliance Manufacturing Association Australia Ltd (GAMAA), Jemena Ltd, and Australian Gas Infrastructure Group (AGIG).
The Australian Government will provide funding of $26.25 million over seven years, with further investment from the Australia’s energy industry and university partners bringing the total to over $90 million.