While Australia waits for its national hydrogen strategy, mooted as the roadmap to a potential $1.7 billion export industry, Queensland is taking determined steps to propel the development of a sustainable hydrogen industry. Under its recently launched $19 million hydrogen strategy, the government is making funding available for a pipeline of new hydrogen projects across the state.
As an emerging industry, the needs within the hydrogen community are varied, with some companies requiring assistance for feasibility, and some advanced enough to require assistance with the purchase of capital equipment. Therefore, the government has established two funding streams under a $15 million competitive merit-based program, the Hydrogen Industry Development Fund (HIDF):
- Funding Stream One – Plant and Equipment: financial assistance of between $500,000 and $5 million for projects contributing to the HIDF objectives. Funding is available for a maximum of 50% of eligible project costs.
- Funding Stream Two – Feasibility Studies: financial assistance of up to $500,000 for a feasibility study related to a proposed project contributing to the HIDF objectives. Funding is available for a maximum of 25% of eligible project costs.
“The Hydrogen Industry Development Fund is part of our recently released Queensland Hydrogen Industry Strategy 2019-2024, and will help position Queensland at the forefront of renewable hydrogen production in Australia by 2030,” said Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick, noting the investment will help create new job and export opportunities.
Under the five-year strategy, the government is seeking to ensure the growth of a renewable hydrogen industry in Queensland with a focus on: supporting innovation, facilitating private investment, effective policy frameworks, building community awareness and facilitating skills development.
According to Minister Dick, the goal is to turn Queensland into a hydrogen exporter of choice to the world. “With our solar, wind and biomass resources, existing gas pipeline infrastructure and first-class export facilities, Queensland is the perfect place to grow a renewable hydrogen industry,” he said.
A big step was made earlier this year when Queensland celebrated Australia’s first-ever delivery of green hydrogen to Japan. The fuel was exported by JXTG, Japan’s largest petroleum conglomerate, with hydrogen produced at QUT’s solar cell facility at the Queensland government’s Redlands Research Facility.
Previously, the state government allocated $750,000 for CSIRO to undertake a pre-feasibility study on establishing a hydrogen demonstration plant in Gladstone which will utilise its break-through ammonia membrane technology; and QUT to establish a renewable hydrogen pilot plant at the Redlands Research Facility.
The investment under the HIDF will be made over the next four years. Applicants will be able to express their interest and will be invited to submit a detailed application, once shortlisted. Expressions of interest are open until 5 pm 21 August 2019.