On behalf of the Australian Government, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) awarded A$22.1 million (US$16 million) in funding to 16 research projects to propel innovation in exporting renewable hydrogen.
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).
In December 2017, ARENA announced the funding round into hydrogen R&D. It is the first time ARENA had sought to fund research into the hydrogen energy supply chain.
The early stage research projects cover a diverse 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 hydrogen carriers such as ammonia (earlier post)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 electrolyzers powered by solar and wind.
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.
Earlier this month, ARENA also 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.
Funding recipients are:
Australian National University (ANU) Hydrogen Generation by Electro-Catalytic Systems – $615,682
ANU Direct Water Electrolysis – $1,235,407
ANU Solar Hydrogen Generation – $1,637,303
CSIRO Solar Thermochemical Hydrogen – $2,007,676
CSIRO Hydrogen to Ammonia – $1,175,000
CSIRO Methane Fuel Carrier – $1,085,553
CSIRO Liquid Fuel Carrier – $1,010,021
Macquarie University biological hydrogen production using genetically engineered microorganisms – $1,148,455
Monash University low-cost robust, high-activity water splitting electrodes – $1,054,209
Monash ammonia production from renewables at ambient temperature and pressure. Developing a process for reduction of nitrogen to ammonia – $915,848
Queensland University of Technology (QUT) Hydrogen Process – $3,350,000
RMIT University proton flow reactor system for electrical energy storage and bulk export of hydrogenated carbon-based material – $805,026
The University of Melbourne (UOM) enabling efficient, affordable and robust use of renewable hydrogen in transport and power generation – $2,594,747
University of New South Wales (UNSW) highly efficient and low cost photovoltaic-electrolysis (PVE) system to generate hydrogen by harvesting the full spectrum of sunlight – $1,319,105
UNSW Waste to Biomass to Renewable Hydrogen – $1,045,770
The University of Western Australia (UWA) Methanol from Syngas – $1,079,875