The Australian Renewable Energy Agency says it is seeking ideas to help it explore Australia’s potential to export renewable energy in forms such as hydrogen – a goal that has attracted the interest of japanese trading giants and leading players such as economist Ross Garrnaut and ex CEFC boss Oliver Yates.
ARENA said on Wednesday it had opened a request for information that will close in one month, and seeks input from industry and researchers on where it should direct funding to boost the chances of building a renewable exports industry.
South Australia is already toying with the idea of renewable energy exports and using the hydrogen economy to mop up excess output from its wind and solar farms, both planned and present.
The ACT has also extracted $180 million in investments in the hydrogen economy as part of its reverse auction scheme that will take it to the equivalent of 100 per cent renewable energy for its electricity needs by 2020.
ARENA released an investment plant in May that identified the export of renewables as one of its four priorities for future funding.
“Australia has vast renewable energy resources, good export capabilities and strong relationships with key international energy markets,” CEO Ivor Frischknecht says.
“All of these factors put Australia in an excellent position to meet the international demand for renewable energy.
“There is a global interest in clean renewable energy and a number of markets have identified hydrogen and its associated materials as key supply.
Australia is expected to have a competitive advantage in the supply of renewable commodities – thanks to our abundant solar and wind resources as well as Australia’s proximity and key trading relationships with major consumer countries, such as Japan.”
ARENA says it has recently provided support to Wollongong-based company AquaHydrex to develop a new electrolyser to convert water to hydrogen.
The technology, originally developed from research performed at the University of Wollongong and Monash University, aims to lower the production costs of hydrogen at a commercial scale.
The responses sought in the request for information centre around the following key areas:
● The production of renewable hydrogen.
● The conversion of gaseous hydrogen to a substance or form suitable for export, and
● The (re)conversion of an exportable substance to hydrogen, or an alternative form, and its use as an energy source.