CEFC makes first hydrogen investment

18th June 2021 By: Esmarie Iannucci - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Australasia

CEFC makes first hydrogen investment

PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) has made its first hydrogen-related investment in a new venture that aims to help commercialise innovative electrolyser production technology to further accelerate Australia’s clean hydrogen industry by bringing down production costs.

Electrolysis is a critical technology for producing hydrogen from renewable resources and researchers from the University of Wollongong are working to overcome barriers to the process being used more broadly.

The University of Wollongong has successfully developed a new electrolyser with expected improvements to production efficiency and capital costs - two key factors in accelerating the development of a hydrogen industry in Australia.

Through the CEFC, the Australian government will invest A$750 000 into Hysata, the company now working to commercialise the innovative electrolyser technology. 

Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor says Australia’s clean hydrogen industry is continuing to gain momentum.

“The government has a vision for Australia to be a major global hydrogen player by 2030. Industry has a key role to play in helping us achieve this, which is why we’re backing research and development, and innovative projects like this one.

“Australian-led research will help to drive down the cost of new hydrogen technologies as we work to ensure that clean hydrogen can achieve cost parity with higher emitting alternatives as soon as possible.”

CEFC CEO Ian Learmonth says that the versatility of hydrogen means it can be used in a wide range of processes, making it an ideal energy carrier as Australia transitions to a low carbon economy.

“Advances in hydrogen technology offer a credible pathway to cutting emissions from high intensity sectors, which might otherwise lack large, scalable energy options.

“The CEFC has a strong focus on hydrogen-related investments, and we are actively pursuing large-scale investment opportunities through our new A$300-million Advancing Hydrogen Fund. As expected, these large-scale investments can take time to develop, and we are looking forward to reaching financial close on our first large-scale transaction. In the meantime, we are delighted to have been able to use the experience and start-up investment focus of our specialist Innovation Fund to make this investment in Hysata.”

The Clean Energy Innovation Fund is the largest dedicated cleantech investor in Australia, created to invest A$200-million in early-stage clean technology companies. The Innovation Fund targets technologies and businesses that have passed beyond the research and development stage, such as Hysata, and which can benefit from early stage seed or growth capital to help them progress to the next stage of their development.

Hydrogen is a key priority under the government’s Technology Investment Roadmap. The government is working with industry to lower the cost of clean hydrogen to under A$2 per kilogram. This is the point at which hydrogen becomes competitive with alternatives to allow for large-scale deployment across energy systems.

An Australian hydrogen industry could generate more than 8 000 jobs, many in regional Australia, and deliver over A$11-billion a year in gross domestic product by 2050.

The government has invested more than A$900-million to support Australia’s clean hydrogen industry, including A$275.5-million in the 2021/22 Budget to support the development of regional hydrogen hubs.