Australia’s Emerging hydrogen and ammonia industry
Australia can be a major global provider of clean hydrogen.
It can also be a leader in clean ammonia, a product that shares hydrogen’s game-changing potential in the global task to deliver net zero emissions by 2050.
With substantial carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) sites in Victoria and Queensland, competitive and accessible coal reserves, natural gas and significant renewable energy generation capacity, Australia is well placed to meet growing international and domestic demand for this important fuel.
Australia continues to work with its partners on leading-edge energy innovation. With Japan, a significant investor in research, development and deployment, Australian industry is working to deliver long term supplies of clean hydrogen and ammonia, such as through the Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC) project in Victoria, utilising gasified brown coal.
At the same time, Australia is investing in the development of CCUS sites which will be vital in creating a zero emissions fuel, such as the Carbon Transport and Storage Company’s project in the Surat Basin, and the CarbonNet infrastructure and storage project in Victoria.
Large-scale hydrogen and ammonia are expensive today, but ingenuity and hard-work can deliver a competitive product to meet a pressing demand.
Clean hydrogen plays a significant role in most scenarios under which the globe decarbonises by 2050. The International Energy Agency suggests clean hydrogen production will need to double by 2030 and increase six-fold by 2050 to meet this target. This is an increase from current annual production levels of around 90 million tonnes (Mt) to more than 530 Mt.
Australia can be a low cost source of clean hydrogen and ammonia. Ammonia in particular offers real prospects for decarbonising global shipping fleets, fertiliser production and electricity generation. This will require development of new pipeline and storage infrastructure including at ports.
To realise this potential, federal and state governments need to focus on removing regulatory barriers, including expediting approval processes for associated infrastructure like pipelines, hydrogen fuel stations and ammonia storage.
The Australian resources sector will play a critical role in delivering the resources required for global decarbonisation. More than just hydrogen and ammonia, this also includes various minerals that form the basis of new storage technologies and electrolysers. As part of this, federal and state governments should be considering how best to develop down-stream processing for lithium, cobalt, nickel and the range of rare earths.
This report shows it is clear the emerging clean hydrogen and ammonia opportunity is substantial for Australia and Australian mining.