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Australia collaborates with Germany on hydrogen projects


Australia’s hydrogen research agreement with Germany has resulted in the announcement of $110 million in funding for four joint projects.

The funding brings together Australian and German research and industry capabilities to new projects which are primarily based in Australia.

The two countries signed an agreement in September 2020 to collaborate on hydrogen projects, leading to the creation of the German-Australian Hydrogen Innovation and Technology Incubator, or HyGATE.

The agreement was predicated on an understanding that Australia had great potential as a producer of hydrogen, while Germany’s vast manufacturing industry would have a significant demand particularly for green hydrogen created by renewable energy.

Australia’s financial contribution to the current funding round is $50 million through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), on behalf of the Department of Climate Change, Energy, Environment and Water. 

The German contribution is 40 million Euros – or $60 million – from an agency associated with Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

The first of the four projects to receive funding is the CFE-Pilot project, which supports the development of an innovative “capillary-fed” electrolyser.

Australian company Hystata, which was spun out of the University of Wollongong, is working with Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology on the project, which will test the delivery of low-cost hydrogen in the Illawarra region of NSW.

The technology from the project has the potential to cut the cost of hydrogen below $2 per kilogram, delivering a significant breakthrough to scaling up its use.

A second project is the EGH2 project, where Australian company Edify is deploying a Siemens electrolyser along with solar PV to produce green hydrogen for minerals processing and transport applications.

Thirdly, South Australian solar thermal technology company Vast Solar is developing a methanol production plant in the regional city of Port Augusta using concentrated solar power.

The plant consists of a 10 MW electrolyser producing green hydrogen for solar methanol production, with the aim of addressing emerging markets for sustainable shipping and aviation fuels.

A fourth project is known as ScaleH2, and brings together Australian energy infrastructure company ATCO with the Fraunhofer Institute for Surface Engineering and Thin Films.

The project presents a pathway to the development of a 1 GW electrolyser and 800 ktpa ammonia facility in the Illawarra region of NSW.

ScaleH2 aims to develop and execute a strategy for a hydrogen export value chain from NSW to German customers.

In addition to the HyGATE collaborative initiative with Germany, ARENA has provided over $170 million in funding to 44 hydrogen projects over the last ten years.

Last September the agency approved funding of $47.5 million towards building Australia’s first large scale renewable hydrogen plant.

The Yuri project represents total investment of $87 million. Led by global energy company ENGIE, Yuri will be a 10 MW electrolyser and 19 MW of solar PV on the Burrup Peninsula in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.

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