Land of milk and honey, Hycel set to work on hydrogen opportunities for dairy industry


Deakin University’s Hycel, a regional technology hub at its Warrnambool campus, which includes the university’s Hydrogen Test Bed facility, is set to investigate the hydrogen opportunities for dairy industries in both Australia and Uruguay. 

The project has the support of the Commonwealth Government’s Council on Australia Latin America Relations (COALAR) grant, and will produce a hydrogen dairy industry feasibility study, global webinar and key message campaign in coordination with Deakin’s Latin American office in Montevideo along with Food and Fibre Great South Coast. 

Milking it

According to a 2015 study from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the dairy industry’s emissions exceeded 1,700 million tonnes of CO2 or equivalent (methane, nitrous oxides) in 2015, a figure comparable to the emissions of the aviation and shipping sectors combined. 

Of course, in recent decades the diary industry has expanded massively to meet increasing demand, and in that time has increased its energy efficiency, but nevertheless, the dairy industry needs to clean up, and perhaps clean hydrogen is a way to do it. Though it should be said that Hycel has not specified that the hydrogen opportunities are strictly green. 

Hydrogen Dairy Project

Food and Fibre Great South Coast’s executive officer, Natalie Collard, said that this project focuses on laying the foundations to understand hydrogen’s broad application for dairy industries so that the region can capitalise on a market estimated to be worth US $2.5 trillion by 2050.

“Hydrogen is an emerging market with enormous potential,” continued Collard, “and mapping the opportunities for key industries such as dairy in these early stages means that our south west Victorian region can be at the forefront of innovation.”

Deakin’s vice-chancellor Iain Martin agrees, saying: “Hycel’s new project aptly demonstrates how we are pursuing this goal (lasting value to communities and industry), connecting dairy industries in south west Victoria and Uruguay to explore hydrogen opportunities that have positive economic and environmental impacts.”

The Establishment phase of the Hycel Technology Hub has $2 million in Commonwealth funding to develop a facility for the development of hydrogen technologies at scale. 

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