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Arena funds hydrogen and green steel R&D

13th April 2023

By: Esmarie Iannucci

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Australasia


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PERTH ( – The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (Arena) has announced a A$50-million investment for two funding rounds targeting research and development (R&D) for renewable hydrogen and low emissions iron and steel production.

Funding for successful R&D projects will be provided over two phases, with an initial laboratory-based research phase followed by a commercialisation phase aimed at scaling up and demonstrating research breakthroughs.

Arena said on Wednesday that A$2-million would be allocated to each of the funding rounds, with grant funding for successful applicants expected to range between A$500 000 and A$5-million.

The Hydrogen R&D round includes funding for two streams: one focused on improving and optimising the production of renewable hydrogen and hydrogen derivatives such as ammonia, and another investigating storage and distribution solutions.

The low emissions Iron and Steel round offers funding for research that can significantly reduce emissions across the steel value chain in the near and long term.

With iron and steel accounting for more than 7% of global emissions, technological innovation will be vital to the industry achieving net zero emissions, Arena said in a statement. As the world’s largest producer and exporter of iron-ore, Australia has a unique opportunity to reduce emissions from iron and steel production.

The investment rounds will include a laboratory-based research phase, then a commercialisation phase aimed at scaling up, demonstrating and deploying research breakthroughs and technologies in the real world.  

The hydrogen round will provide critical funding for research on hydrogen production and storage methods for both a domestic and future export hydrogen industry.

Arena acting CEO Chris Faris said the two rounds will build on Australia’s legacy of R&D and help scale up renewable energy and low carbon exports.

“Australia has a proud history at the forefront of technological innovation to support our industrial base. Arena is backing our local research sector with A$50-million over two funding rounds,” Faris said.

“Renewable hydrogen and low emissions iron and steel will be critical to Australia’s net zero economy. The R&D we’re funding now through these programmes will underpin our clean industries of tomorrow.

“We’re already seeing renewable hydrogen scaling up, but there’s still more to be done to improve efficiency, while storing and transporting the fuel at scale are looming challenges.

"Iron and steel production represents enormous emissions reduction opportunities for Australia and our trading partners. Globally, these industries make up around 7%of global greenhouse gas emissions, so the decarbonisation opportunity is huge,” he added.

“As global markets increasingly demand low carbon products, we need new solutions to bring us closer to net zero. And we need to get that research out of the lab and into industrial applications. This work is about future-proofing our iron and steel industries for a low carbon value chain.”

Climate Change and Energy Minister Chris Bowen on Thursday said the government’s support for clean energy R&D was critical to Australia’s energy transformation.

“The world’s climate emergency is Australia’s jobs opportunity, and the best way to seize that opportunity is by investing in Australian research and technology and deploying it.

“Australia can and should become a renewable energy superpower, continuing our role as a reliable energy exporter around the world. Developing technology to make, store and use hydrogen is essential, including to tap our potential as a competitive exporter of energy-intensive green metals,” Bowen said.

“This announcement today comes in addition to our Safeguard Mechanism reforms and the Powering the Regions Fund to help future-proof industry and ensure our energy-rich economy remains competitive in a rapidly changing global economy.”

Expressions of interest for Arena’s Hydrogen and Iron & Steel R&D funding rounds are due June 1. 

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter


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