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Nationwide hydrogen plan outlined

New future: The National Hydrogen Strategy should help to fast-track the mass-market introduction of FCEVs such as the Toyota Mirai (left) and Hyundai Nexo (below).

Federal government to develop National Hydrogen Strategy for future FCEV direction

General News logo20 Dec 2018

THE Australian federal government has announced a plan to develop a nationwide strategy for the integration of hydrogen both as an alternative powertrain source, but for a wider industry involving production and exporting.
 
Unanimously approved this week by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Energy Council, the aim of the National Hydrogen Strategy is to implement policies and measures to increase hydrogen use in areas such as transport and refuelling infrastructure, decarbonisation of the gas supply, interaction with electricity systems, energy storage and industrial processes.
 
It will also be used to establish a domestic hydrogen production industry that could become a world leader in exporting, due to Australia’s large renewable energy potential.
 
Speaking to GoAuto, Hyundai Motor Company Australia manager for future mobility and government relations Scott Nargar said Australia had huge potential for creating a hydrogen export industry on a global scale.
 
“We’ve got some of the best concentrations of solar and wind overlap anywhere in the world,” he said. 
 
“You look at some of the coastline and some of the interior areas around the South Australian coast, Western Australian, up in Queensland on the coast and also the interior, those overlaps if you look at some of the mapping that’s been done by the CSIRO, we have a great opportunity to power not only Australia but the rest of the world moving forward. The rest of Asia-Pacific at least.”
 
The National Hydrogen Strategy will be developed throughout 2019 with input from groups such as Hydrogen Mobility Australia, and will start to be implemented from 2020 on.
 
For the transport sector, Mr Nargar anticipates hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles (FCEVs) will take up the role currently filled by diesel engines, for powering large cars, buses, trucks, trains, forklifts and such.
 
A dedicated nationwide hydrogen policy framework is expected to generate thousands of jobs in Australia across areas such as manufacturing, research and development, retailing and distribution.
 
“Some of the studies have identified exactly where those jobs are,” said Mr Nargar. 
 
“And it’s already starting to happen now with some of the jobs in research, some of the jobs in engineering, some of the projects that are starting to come on board and the hydrogen stations that are going to go online next year, there’s already jobs being created in those areas now.”
 
On a state level, the Victorian Labor government has announced it will invest $2 million to help increase the development of hydrogen energy technologies in Victoria.
 
The Victorian government has earmarked exports to Japan and Korea as potential avenues of business, and the grant will help fund investment into hydrogen research while investigating ways to draw on Victoria’s increasing renewable energy resources and natural gas pipeline infrastructure.
 
It has created a target of 50 per cent of energy to come from renewables by 2030, which it says will create thousands of jobs for Victorians.
 
Hydrogen Mobility Australia CEO Claire Johnson said the association was thrilled that the federal government has developed a nationwide strategy for the introduction of hydrogen technology.
 
“For us to recognise a future with less emissions, greater economic gains and healthier outcomes, we must act now to build infrastructure, develop policies and incentives, and produce an environment where hydrogen production, supply and use thrive,” she said. “A national hydrogen strategy will allow us to do exactly that.
 
“As the peak body for hydrogen, we will continue to engage with governments and industry to create the right policy landscape for the hydrogen sector to develop and increase public understanding of what a clean energy future with hydrogen means.”

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