$50m awarded to scale Australian-German hydrogen projects

Brandon How

Four Australian hydrogen supply chain projects will share in $50 million in grant funding through the German-Australian Hydrogen Innovation and Technology Incubator (HyGATE) initiative.

Under the program, launched under the Coalition government, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) issued grants to Australian firms to undertake collaborative projects with German partners.

The German federal government also awarded €40 million in grants for the German partners.

The grants program is a part of the Australia-Germany Hydrogen Accord , which aims to support pilot, trial, demonstration, and research projects in the hydrogen supply chain.

Grants awarded to each firm are as follow:

Company (Australian lead applicant) Company (German lead applicant) Project Name ARENA Funding (AUD) BMBF Funding (EUR)
ATCO Australia Fraunhofer IST ScaleH2 $0.8 million €4.7 million
Hysata Fraunhofer IPT High-efficiency ‘Capillary-fed’ Electrolyser Pilot Project $8.98 million €5.9 million
Edify Energy Siemens Energy Global GmbH Edify Green Hydrogen Project (EGH2) $20.74 million €16.4 million
Vast Solar Fichtner GmbH Solar Methanol (SM1) $19.48 million €13.2 million

ScaleH2 is also supported by NSW Powerfuels and will work towards developing a 1GW electrolyser and 800ktpa ammonia facility in the Illawarra region, NSW.

The first stage of EGH2 includes a 17.5MW Siemens Energy electrolyser to produce green hydrogen, which will be powered by 21MW of solar. The aim is to expand the project to an electrolyser capacity of 1GW and export hydrogen through the Port of Townsville.

SM1 entails the use of a 10MW electrolyser for the production of green hydrogen as an input to green methanol production. It is targeting the sustainable shipping and aviation fuel market and will be located in Port Augusta, South Australia.

Hysata chief executive Paul Barrett said the support would help the company to rapidly scale-up its “high-efficiency electrolyser”. Further information on the project is to be announced soon.

“Hysata’s capillary fed electrolyser operates at 95 per cent system efficiency (41.5 kWh/kg), delivering a giant leap in performance and cost over incumbent technologies, which typically operate at 75 per cent or less,” he said.

“This high efficiency, coupled with a simple approach to mass manufacturing and low supply chain risk is truly disruptive and will slash the cost of green hydrogen.

“Australia has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to be a global leader in green hydrogen and we are delighted to see the Government backing Australian innovators.”

In March last year, the Wollongong University spin-out claimed its capillary technology would enable green hydrogen to be produced at a cost “well-below” $2 per kilogram, the federal government stretch target set in the Low Emissions Technology Statement in 2020.

Climate Change and Enegry minister Chris Bowen said “these projects demonstrate Australia’s role as a world leader in renewable energy production, reducing the cost of hydrogen production and paving the way for exports”.

ARENA chief executive Darren Miller said the grants would help commercialise renewable hydrogen.

“We’re excited to be able to announce these four hydrogen projects that demonstrate the benefit of global collaboration to achieve a new export industry in renewable hydrogen and push us further towards the goal of net zero emissions,” he said.

“HyGATE highlights our strong relationship with Germany. Through our joint support we will bring together Australian innovation and state-of-the-art German renewable hydrogen technology for the benefit of both countries.”

Two other initiatives were also committed to under the hydrogen accord. These are to pursuing collaboration in Australian hydrogen hubs and facilitating trade of hydrogen between Australia and Germany, building on Germany’s €900 million H2Global scheme to procure hydrogen from the international market.

The first round of auctions under the H2Global scheme to procure ammonia, e-methanol, and sustainable aviation fuel through 10-year contracts.

Among other collaborative work includes the undertaking of a trilateral export study between the Western Australian state government, the Port of Rotterdam, and the German Ministry of Education and Research. The focus of the study is the Oakajee Strategic Industrial Area in Western Australia.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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