Hydrogen supply-chain opportunities: German & Australian SMEs meet today


As Australia’s green-hydrogen industry moves purposefully towards viability, and supply-chain and research players collaborate under the auspices of 13 hydrogen clusters managed by the National Energy Resources Australia (NERA), it makes sense that Australian centres of endeavour connect with expertise in target markets, such as Germany — to share ambitions, avoid duplications and start to dovetail supply with demand.

Today’s free virtual hydrogen business conference, organised by the German-Australian Chamber of Industry and Commerce aims to further that process and more. It starts at 3.30pm with networking, and is still open for registration.

The fast-paced event is made up of 10-minute presentations, kicking off with Leigh Kennedy, NERA’s National Cluster Development Manager, outlining The role of hydrogen in Australia’s energy infrastructure; and Werner Diwald, Chairman of the German Hydrogen and Fuel-Cell Association outlining the lay of Germany’s hydrogen landscape.

In line with Australian Government policy, NERA is “technology agnostic”, says Kennedy, but he adds that customer markets will dictate how much effort Australian devotes to green hydrogen production, relative to brown hydrogen, which is produced by coal gasification; grey hydrogen produced from natural gas, but resulting in carbon byproducts; or blue hydrogen which aims to capture the carbon thrown off by the grey hydrogen process and store it (carbon capture and storage, or CCS).

Germany is expected to demand clean hydrogen as part of its drive to become carbon neutral by 2050, and has announced a 9 billion hydrogen strategy, with €2 billion designated for hydrogen projects outside the country, mainly in Ukraine and Morocco, on the basis that green hydrogen production may be more cost-efficient outside Europe. 

Kennedy says, “It’s a really exciting proposition, what Australia might do with a portion of that €2 billion, working on joint projects that create win-win solutions across both economies.”

The point is, he says, that Australia doesn’t want to be “just exporting green molecules to Germany”. Rather, “We want to be exporting our technology and services — consulting, engineering, training and education are really important in the hydrogen space because it’s so new,” he says.

Partners in taking hydrogen to the world

Today’s conference aims to build on the “massive opportunity to deepen the bilateral cooperation” between Germany and Australia, through hydrogen; such that Australia not only helps the European industrial giant with its decarbonisation plans, but leverages those partnerships into joint projects in third markets, such as Singapore and Vietnam, says Kennedy.

Conference attendees will hear from Andrew Dickson, Development Manager of Australia’s proposed 26 GW Asian Renewable Energy Hub, which is mooted to help “address key energy security and emissions reduction challenges facing Australia’s regional neighbours” by producing green hydrogen and green ammonia for export, while also powering new resources ventures in the Pilbara region where the Hub will be built.

Dominik Härle, head of H2-Technologies at Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute will no doubt update attendees on the German-Australian Wasserstoffbrucke or “hydrogen bridge” initiative — a joint research venture into how a value chain of green hydrogen between the two nations can be established.

Many hydrogen supply-chain specialists in one virtual room

The majority of speakers form a “delegation”, say the conference organisers, of German companies connected to the hydrogen industry that are looking for partners and collaborators in the Australian market. 

Participants include companies such as Siemens and 2G Energy, already active in Australia; and others such as Cryotec Anlagenbau, which specialises in constructing plants for liquefaction and technical gases production designed to operate in extreme climatic conditions; Fichtner, a technical consultancy firm that supports infrastructure and energy projects around the world; Reuther STC, experts in pressure hydrogen storage tanks; and Remote Control Technology (RCT), which specialises in remote-controlled monitoring of liquid and gaseous media in storage tanks.

The conference provides opportunities throughout the afternoon and evening (event closes at 7.45pm) for networking, and Kennedy anticipates, “fantastic relationships will be initiated that will deliver the next generation technology for the production, storage, transportation and utilisation of hydrogen in Australia and Germany”.

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