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NERA unveils national seed funding program as first major step towards creating Australia’s future hydrogen technology cluster network

02 Sep 2020 12:01 PM | Sonia Harvey (Administrator)

Hydrogen and hydrogen-related technologies represent the next big energy opportunity for Australia

Australia is well-positioned to play a leading role in the emerging hydrogen energy market, having the resources, infrastructure, proximity and established trade relationships with key markets in Asia, and demonstrated know-how to reliably, safely and efficiently scale production and export of technology, capability and energy resources.

With the right focus on high value skills and commercialising intellectual property, an Australian hydrogen industry could conservatively produce an increase to Australian Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of up to $11 billion on a Net Present Value (NPV) basis and 7,600 jobs by 2050 [1]. This includes a range of technical and trade occupations, with many of these in regional areas.

Australia’s National Hydrogen Strategy (NHS) [2] outlines the nation’s path to becoming a global hydrogen player, through building a strong domestic hydrogen sector that will underpin Australia's exporting capabilities. The NHS supports NERA to lead the establishment of a National Hydrogen Cluster to help grow capabilities and drive industry collaboration across the hydrogen value chain and ensure that Australian companies are well placed to supply new technology, products and services to domestic and international markets.

Developing regional clusters around key hydrogen projects and infrastructure hubs (see: Arup study for COAG Energy Council), or in regions that will service those hubs (e.g. metropolitan areas, such as Perth or Brisbane), will help to enhance local cohesion and capability in the hydrogen value chain.

As part of the National Hydrogen Cluster Consultation Workshops held earlier this year, NERA recognised that in order to establish a successful National Hydrogen Cluster, a bottom-up approach is first required to tap into networks and capabilities that already exist. The consultation workshops were held in each state and territory, including the regional energy centres of Gladstone, Darwin and Karratha, and engaged with almost 300 hydrogen industry professionals across the value chain. To view the findings of this engagement, click here.

NERA’s Hydrogen Seed Funding Program supports the formation of a network of hydrogen technology clusters around Australia. These clusters can accelerate and optimise the development of hydrogen technology and expertise. Once established, this network of hydrogen clusters will play a central role in connecting to establish the national cluster — which is proposed to operate as a virtual network. The national cluster aims to establish a global identity and a recognised brand for Australian hydrogen technology and expertise, accelerate hydrogen supply chain development, and reduce overlaps and identify gaps in the development, deployment, and commercialisation of new technologies.

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