The University of New South Wales will host a new research hub for hydrogen technologies that will aim to accelerate the commercialisation of renewable hydrogen, after securing $4.9 million in funding from the Australian Research Council.
UNSW will establish the ARC Training Centre for The Global Hydrogen Economy, which will focus on a core set of priorities needed for an expansion of the renewable hydrogen industry.
These research priorities include the production, storage, and use of hydrogen as an energy source, the development of appropriate safety controls, and identifying the barriers to increased adoption, including establishing public acceptance and identifying the local skill gaps needed by industry.
UNSW researchers scientia professor Rose Amal and professor Kondo-Francois Aguey-Zinsou will lead the new centre, and will seek to bring together international experts to collaborate on the development of hydrogen innovations.
The National Hydrogen Strategy prepared by Australia’s chief scientist Dr Alan Finkel, found that a conservative estimate of a potential hydrogen industry in Australia could see it contribute around $11 billion a year to Australia’s GDP, as well as creating 7,600 new jobs.
The research to be undertaken by the UNSW will seek to fill some of the skills and technology gaps that currently remain, allowing Australia to unlock the massive economic opportunity presented by renewable hydrogen.
Deputy vice chancellor for research, professor Nicholas Fisk, said that the research to be undertaken at the centre would help Australia take a leading role in the development of a global hydrogen economy.
“Australia is well-positioned to capitalise on the emerging global growth of hydrogen. However, to be competitive and produce at scale, we need cost-effective hydrogen technologies and capabilities for transitioning hydrogen into an array of industries,” professor Fisk said.
“The project will have far-reaching and broad opportunities both to generate innovative approaches to exporting the product and to create a highly skilled future workforce, all the while benefitting the environment and as a result, our climate.”
The establishment of the training centre for The Global Hydrogen Economy, follows the launch of the Hydrogen Energy Research Centre, also hosted at UNSW.
The research centre has already successfully progressed the development of a household hydrogen energy storage system, which recently secured the services of global engineering firm GHD to continue the development of the technology before proceeding to commercialisation.
The LAVO hydrogen energy storage system, developed through a partnership between the UNSW and Providence Asset Group, has the potential to provide up to 60kWh of energy storage using hydrogen, enough to provide up to three full days of energy backup for an average home.
The funding was announced by federal education minister Dan Tehan on Tuesday.
“These training centres will drive Australian growth, innovation and competitiveness, improving the lives of everyday Australians, through drug design, and developing new opportunities for business, through the scale-up of hydrogen generation and its export,” Tehan said.