This week, New South Wales and Queensland have announced massive hydrogen fuel strategies, adding to the raft of policies, projects and agreements circling Australia.
What are the highlights of each strategy, and how do they compare? And where are the other states headed on hydrogen fuel?
New South Wales
New South Wales unveiled a hydrogen strategy on Wednesday, detailing a raft of measures to improve hydrogen fuel generation and uptake, including $3 billion in incentives for hydrogen production.
The state government aims to drive the price of locally generated clean hydrogen below $2.80 per kilogram (a reduction of $5.80 per kilogram) by 2030. Other 2030 goals include having 700 megawatts (MW) in electrolyser capacity, seeing 10,000 hydrogen vehicles on the road, and generating 110,000 tonnes of green hydrogen annually.
The strategy was announced with the verbal support of Andrew Forrest, chairman and founder of Fortescue Future Industries (FFI). Springing from the Fortescue Metals Group mining company, FFI is investing heavily in renewable hydrogen production around the world, with several projects underway in Australia.
The NSW announcement comes hot on the heels of a hydrogen manufacturing project revealed last weekend by the Queensland government and FFI.
This plan is more detailed and short-term than NSW’s strategy: it focuses on the development of a clean hydrogen manufacturing centre in Queensland.
The first stage of the six-stage project is construction of an electrolyser manufacturing facility at Gladstone, in central Queensland. Electrolysers use electricity to turn water into hydrogen, and thus can be used to make hydrogen with renewable energy. FFI aims to start building the factory in early 2022, and it will begin producing electrolysers in early 2023.
Beyond electrolysers, FFI also plans to manufacture solar cells, wind turbines, electric cabling and other tools for renewable-energy generation.
These two announcements arrive after a series of hydrogen-fuel projects were mooted elsewhere in Australia.
Tasmania has also received interest from Fortescue, with a proposed hydrogen plant at Bell Bay in northern Tasmania announced in June. This plant would have a 250MW capacity and generate 250,000 tonnes per year of ammonia, which stores hydrogen in liquid form.
Western Australia updated its hydrogen strategy last month, with an additional $50 million for hydrogen investment. The Western Green Energy hub on the edge of the Nullarbor Plain, slated to be the largest renewable-energy hub in the world if built, aims to produce 3.5 million tonnes of green hydrogen and 20 million tonnes of ammonia per year.
South Australia, currently home to the country’s largest electrolyser – a 1.25MW plant that produces 20 kilograms of hydrogen per hour – has invested in the development of a green hydrogen plant 60 times that size at Port Bonython, near Whyalla on the Eyre Peninsula.
Victoria’s renewable hydrogen development plan focusses on developing hydrogen capacity and skills, with grants for feasibility studies and pilot programs.
The federal government has signed several renewable hydrogen agreements with other countries, including Germany and Japan. CSIRO has also this year launched a renewable Hydrogen Industry Mission, aiming to boost international collaboration on hydrogen research.
Ellen Phiddian is a science journalist at Cosmos. She has a BSc (Honours) in chemistry and science communication, and an MSc in science communication, both from the Australian National University.
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