According to the International Energy Agency and the World Energy Council, Australia has the potential be the world’s largest hydrogen
The potential role of hydrogen in the transition to a more sustainable energy future has attracted strong interest globally over recent years. According to the International Energy Agency and the World Energy Council, Australia has the potential be the world’s largest hydrogen producer. The Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) forecasts that Australia is poised to become the East Asia region’s largest hydrogen exporting source, exporting 42% of regional supply by 2040.
The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Energy Council committed to developing and implementing a national strategy for hydrogen in December 2018, in close consultation with industry and the community. The vision is for Australia to be a major player in a global hydrogen industry by 2030. The key opportunity of incentivising early investment in a hydrogen economy is captured in the 2018 Hydrogen White Paper vision statement:
Our vision is a future in which hydrogen provides economic benefits to Australia through export revenue and new industries and jobs, supports the transition to low emissions energy across electricity, heating, transport and industry, improves energy system resilience and increases consumer choice.
Hydrogen can be generated from renewable energy resources, and it is as a clean, flexible, storable and safe energy vector. When used as a fuel it does not generate carbon emissions. Hydrogen can also be generated from using natural gas, coal and biomass. Where carbon is a by-product of this process these emissions can be captured and stored.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) has identified the opportunity to create ‘hydrogen hubs’ could bring down the cost of low-carbon hydrogen pathways3. The term ‘hub’ refers to a region that has the potential to aggregate demand for hydrogen. These hubs could be coastal industrial clusters or co-located near ports. The creation of hubs is expected to be an effective springboard to growing a hydrogen economy. It is in this context that Arup have been commissioned by COAG to develop criteria for determining the feasibility of hydrogen export hubs, precincts, cities and regions and to assess the supply chain infrastructure needed to support these hubs in Australia.
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