PERTH (miningweekly.com) - Three new regional hydrogen technology clusters have been identified in Queensland and Western Australia, to further support the development of Australia’s future clean hydrogen industry.
The new clusters will operate under the Hydrogen Technology Cluster Australia (H2TCA) programme, an initiative of independent National Energy Resources Australia (NERA), which is funded by the Australian government’s Industry Growth Centre initiative.
The hydrogen clusters, in Townsville in Queensland and in the Gascoyne and Mid-West regions of Western Australia, aim to bring together local players to build the regions’ skills and advance commercialisation opportunities.
These new clusters support the government’s investment of more than A$1.2-billion to accelerate the development of an Australian hydrogen industry.
Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said the government’s ambition is to produce affordable clean hydrogen for use both in Australia and to export to trading partners and regional Australia is critical to this.
“These new clusters are great for the people of Townsville, Gascoyne and the Mid-West regions as they will help accelerate hydrogen industry development by enabling vital connection, collaboration, and alignment of action across Australia,” Taylor said.
“Encouraging innovation, and building capabilities, particularly in regional Australia, will help make Australian hydrogen supply chains the most attractive in the world.”
NERA CEO Miranda Taylor said the announcement shows the importance Australia places on the potential for hydrogen energy.
“Today’s announcement is a crucial step for Australia in building the skills, capacities, technologies and commercialisation opportunities necessary to unlock Australia’s enormous potential to create a globally competitive hydrogen industry that could create thousands of jobs across regional Australia,” Taylor said.
The three new clusters will join an existing network of 15 regional hydrogen technology clusters across Australia to aid the development of the hydrogen supply chain.
The North Queensland Hydrogen Consortium cluster in Townville, to be led by Townsville Enterprise Limited, expands the Queensland cluster network and partners with the Central Queensland Hydrogen Technology cluster, in Gladstone, the Toowoomba and Surat Basin Hydrogen Industry cluster, and the Queensland Hydrogen Industry Cluster, in Brisbane, to provide a focal point to connect, collaborate and support the development of the state’s hydrogen technology supply chains.
Queensland Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen Mick de Brenni welcomed the Townsville announcement.
“This announcement builds on excellent local collaboration and recognises the key attributes that Townsville boasts with quality renewable energy and port infrastructure.
“We’ve worked hard to position Queensland as a global powerhouse for clean energy exports and now Townsville residents can look forward to the quality jobs that will generate.
“Townsville has good form when it comes to construction, utilities, maritime, heavy manufacturing, and large scale hydrogen can be its next success story.”
In Western Australia the two new clusters, led by the Carnarvon Chamber of Commerce (Gascoyne) and the Mid-West Chamber of Commerce and Industry, join the three existing Western Australian clusters; the Perth and Peel Hydrogen cluster, Western Australian Technology Cluster for Hydrogen, and the Pilbara Hydrogen cluster, to collaborate on technology deployment across the hydrogen value chain and share knowledge on industry enabling opportunities.
Western Australia Minister for Hydrogen Industry Alannah MacTiernan said the new technology clusters in the Gascoyne and Mid West regions demonstrated the strength of the hydrogen, equipment, technology and services sector across the state’s regions.
“Both the Mid-West and Gascoyne regions have the comparative advantages needed to fuel successful local hydrogen industries.
“Western Australia will now be home to five technology clusters, which provide opportunities for community engagement and support for the implementation of cutting edge technologies across Perth and the regions.”
The Western Australian government recently announced that it would invest up to A$117-million to attract federal funding for hydrogen hubs in the Pilbara and the Mid-West, matching Commonwealth funding to establish these hubs.
Clean hydrogen could directly support 16 000 jobs by 2050, plus an additional 13 000 jobs from the construction of related renewable energy infrastructure. Australian hydrogen production for export and domestic use could also generate more than A$50-billion in additional gross domestic product by 2050.