Qld puts $19m bet on hydrogen tech

James Riley
Editorial Director

In a bid to build out Queensland’s emerging hydrogen extraction industry, the Queensland government said it will commit $19 million to support the roll-out of its newly announced Hydrogen Industry Strategy 2019-2024.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said hydrogen had the potential to be Queensland’s next liquified natural gas (LNG), and a new source of highly-skilled jobs, especially for regional Queensland.

“In the sixties it was the space race,” the Premier said. “This century is all about energy. Queensland is at the forefront of hydrogen development. We aim to keep it that way.”

Annastacia Palaszczuk: Queensland wants to retain leadership in hydrogen sector

The strategy is focused on five key areas: supporting innovation, facilitating private sector investment, ensuring an effective policy framework, building community awareness and confidence, and facilitating skills development for new technology.

The strategy establishes a $15 million fund to advance renewable hydrogen projects in Queensland. The Hydrogen Industry Development Fund is scheduled to open from July 1.

The strategy also suggests for the state government to work with federal counterparts on projects that align, and to assist eligible companies to access federal funding opportunities such as the ARENA Research and Development Program.

A spokesperson for the Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning told InnovationAus.com the Queensland and federal government were already actively working together to support the development of the national hydrogen strategy, led by the Council of Australian Governments Energy Council.

“The Queensland Government is represented on all the work streams under the national strategy. The Queensland Hydrogen Industry Strategy will be reviewed and updated if necessary, following the public release of the national hydrogen strategy,” the spokesperson said.

The five-year plan also recommended for the state government to work with research and industry to identify and develop supply chain capability and maximise Queensland’s capability in hydrogen projects through opportunity provision.

In addition, the strategy outlined that the Queensland government needs to support national initiatives that will create a regulatory framework that facilitates the safe and sustainable development of the industry, for example standards and certification systems for renewable hydrogen.

According to Ms Palaszczuk, Queensland is already in discussions with Japan and South Korea for the state to export “green hydrogen” produced using renewable energy sources.

“Both countries have ambitious plans for renewable hydrogen to meet their domestic energy needs, and Queensland is well-placed to support the energy goals of these long-standing trading partners,” the Premier wrote in the forward of the strategy.

In March 2019, Queensland celebrated its first delivery of green hydrogen to Japan, exported by JXTG with hydrogen produced at QUT’s solar cell facility at the Queensland Government’s Redlands Research Facility.

CSIRO is also undertaking a pre-feasibility study on establishing a hydrogen demonstration plant in Gladstone, which utilises its ammonia membrane technology.

CSIRO Hydrogen Energy Systems Future Science Platform leader Daniel Roberts said the organisation continues to work with industry and government is “well-placed to play a leading role in supplying some of this hydrogen from our renewable energy resources.”

“Our technologies have enabled key supply chains for renewable hydrogen export. In support of this, and related to work being undertaken by our collaborators, we are working with state governments and industry to develop demonstration-scale projects locally and internationally,” he said.

“We have invested in early-stage technology and industrial capability development projects to provide the developing hydrogen industry in Australia viable pathways for local application and international export.

“We are pleased to see that hydrogen strategies are being developed at state and federal levels, as coordination and critical mass are key to realising the opportunities offered by hydrogen energy systems.”

The state government’s target to build out the sustainable hydrogen industry falls under the its decade-long advanced manufacturing roadmap and action plan. This aligns closely with the state government’s $650 million Advanced Queensland innovation initiative.

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