Renewable hydrogen research projects funded

Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has awarded $22.1 million in funding to 16 research projects to propel innovation in exporting renewable hydrogen to the world.

The funding has been offered to research teams from nine Australian universities and research organisations including the Australian National University, Macquarie University, Monash University, Queensland University of Technology, RMIT University, The University of Melbourne, University of New South Wales, The University of Western Australia and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).

The early stage research projects cover a range of renewable solutions, with at least one project from each point in the supply chain – production, hydrogen carrier and end use. The projects include the development of a wide range of hydrogen-related technologies including concentrating solar thermal, electrolysis, biotechnology, carrier synthesis, thermochemical processes, fuel cell development and energy generation.

Hydrogen – or carriers like ammonia – are potentially ways for Australia to export renewable energy. Electrical energy can readily be converted into hydrogen via electrolysis. Renewable or green hydrogen involves producing hydrogen from renewable sources for example via electrolysers powered by solar and wind.

Hydrogen is poised to play a larger role, as the world moves to a low carbon economy. Hydrogen can potentially be used as a way for Australia to export renewable energy to other countries, particularly in Asia with demand expected to increase.

ARENA recently released a report that identified opportunities for Australia to export hydrogen as global demand for hydrogen increases in the next decade.

The report, prepared by ACIL Allen Consulting for ARENA, found there could be a significant increase in demand globally for hydrogen exports as other countries – such as Japan and the Republic of Korea – looked to transition to renewable energy. With the right conditions, hydrogen exports could be worth $1.7 billion annually and could generate 2,800 jobs in Australia by 2030.

ARENA is also part of the Hydrogen Strategy Group, led by Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel AO, which prepared a briefing paper on hydrogen for the COAG Energy Council.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said the $22.1 million funding boost would help to maximise Australia’s opportunities in developing a cost-effective hydrogen export supply chain.

“Exporting renewable energy, such as by the use of hydrogen, involves developing and integrating emerging technologies. This funding will help bolster the research efforts of Australian scientists to drive innovation for what could become the next big export industry.

“Hydrogen is poised to play a big role in the world’s low carbon economy. Already, Japan and South Korea have committed to becoming major import markets for renewable hydrogen but as yet there are no exporters,” Mr Miller said.

“With its abundance of sun and wind, and experience as one of the world’s largest LNG exporters, Australia is ideally placed to become a global superpower in exporting renewable energy, and this work will help position us as leaders in this field,” he said.

Funding Recipients:

Australian National University

  • Hydrogen Generation by Electro-Catalytic Systems – $615,682

  • Direct Water Electrolysis – $1,235,407

  • Solar Hydrogen Generation – $1,637,303


  • Solar Thermochemical Hydrogen – $2,007,676

  • Hydrogen to Ammonia – $1,175,000

  • Methane Fuel Carrier – $1,085,553

  • Liquid Fuel Carrier – $1,010,021

Macquarie University

  • Hydrogen production using genetically engineered microorganisms – $1,148,455

Monash University

  • Low-cost robust, high-activity water splitting electrodes – $1,054,209

  • Ammonia production from renewables at ambient temperature and pressure – $915,848

Queensland University of Technology

  • Hydrogen Process – $3,350,000

RMIT University

  • A proton flow reactor system for electrical energy storage and bulk export of hydrogenated carbon-based material – $805,026

The University of Melbourne

  • Enabling efficient, affordable and robust use of renewable hydrogen in transport and power generation – $2,594,747

University of New South Wales

  • Highly efficient and low cost photovoltaic-electrolysis (PVE) system to generate hydrogen by harvesting the full spectrum of sunlight – $1,319,105

  • Waste to Biomass to Renewable Hydrogen – $1,045,770

The University of Western Australia

  • Methanol from Syngas – $1,079,875

More information about these projects is available here.

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