CSIRO allocated $5 million for hydrogen research program


Australia’s federal government has allocated $5 million to the national science agency, the CSIRO, for a program which, it says, will include activities like supporting researcher exchanges, developing collaboration tools and events as well as enabling sharing of knowledge about research relevant to hydrogen and its derivatives like ammonia. 

Speaking at the Australian Hydrogen Conference in May, Chief Executive of the CSIRO, Larry Marshall, described Australia as currently at the “forefront” of hydrogen – a position not often held by our island state and one we must “dig our teeth into.” In recent years, the agency has quadrupled its hydrogen investments and focussed massive amounts of research capacity on the future fuel.

Federal Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, Angus Taylor, said the program will help promote strong relationships with research agencies in partner countries like Germany, Japan and Singapore to accelerate the development of a global ‘clean’ hydrogen industry.

The Morrison government continues to use the term ‘clean hydrogen’ to muddy the difference between renewable ‘green’ hydrogen and hydrogen made with fossil fuels (blue hydrogen) which claims to offset its production emissions with carbon capture and store technology (CCS). The federal government claims to have invested $1 billion to support Australia’s ‘clean’ hydrogen industry, though the amount allocated to definitively renewable projects is far lower.

“Investing in R&D and building connections with international partners are critical to Australia building and growing our own globally competitive industry. We recognise the important economic and job opportunities becoming a major global hydrogen player will deliver, while also lowering emissions,” Taylor said in a statement about the funding.

Newly appointed Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Christian Porter, who lost his revered position in the cabinet as Attorney-General following a serious rape allegation, said the research and development program will grow Australia’s hydrogen capacity.

“This program will also improve our understanding of future hydrogen supply chains and markets, and help us to harness the potential for an Australian clean hydrogen industry to grow our economy and create Australian jobs,” Porter said in the statement.

He added the new program will “build on and intensify recent collaborative efforts” between his department and the CSIRO in developing an ‘Australian Hydrogen Researcher Network’.

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