Australia urgently needs to establish a Net Zero Fund that prioritises funding for applications that need hydrogen to decarbonise, including heavy transport and ammonia production.
In its first-ever white paper called ‘Unlocking Australia’s Hydrogen Opportunity’, the Australian Hydrogen Council charts the path to achieving net zero emissions with the assistance of the emerging hydrogen industry.
Australian Hydrogen Council CEO, Dr Fiona Simon, said the billions of dollars of future GDP envisioned in the National Hydrogen Strategy will only be realised with a significant down-payment.
“We recommend that the Australian government establishes a Net Zero Fund, with an initial allocation of $10 billion.
“The Net Zero Fund will help to close the economic gap for applications that are hard to abate without hydrogen, like steel, ammonia production and heavy transport. Driving large sources of demand will scale up the industry and drive down costs.”
The fund would be administered by a Net Zero Authority, created for this purpose, with power to cover a broad range of players from research to commercialisation, and from grants to finance.
Simon said the work of the authority could potentially subsume Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC).
Planning for net zero – and the role of hydrogen to get there – was also vital, noted Dr Simon. She said that there are many ways to build scale in hydrogen, with different pathways having their own costs and dependencies, engineering reality and level of social acceptance.
“In addition to funding, hydrogen industry growth requires planning, co-ordination and the right policy settings from governments,” Simon said.
“An acceleration of government policy can get the nation to net zero faster, and it can muster and leverage the incredible resources already being invested by the states and by industry.
“We need comprehensive, published planning information to assist governments, the private sector and the public to make informed decisions about Australia’s hydrogen industry.
“With the global race to net zero emissions underway, it is imperative that the Australian government drive a co-ordinated national approach to creating a clean hydrogen industry.”