Australia seeking to build potential $7 billion hydrogen export market

Hydrogen gas produced by solar and wind energy as well as brown coal is set to become the next big focus for Australia’s energy industry and export market, according to a recent report.

The report, conducted for the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) by consultants ACIL Allen, said that Australia is seeking to supply what could become a US$7 billion hydrogen market to China, Japan, South Korea and Singapore by 2030.

Hydrogen exports could grow the same way that Australia’s LNG industry has over the past 30 years, according to ACIL, the Australian government and gas producer Woodside Petroleum, although it would initially be a fraction of the forecasted $35 billion brought in by LNG exports in 2019.

The global drive to cut carbon emissions and the falling cost of wind and solar power has turned hydrogen gas, traditionally used as rocket fuel, into a clean energy alternative to fossil fuels such as natural gas and coal, despite the concept being over four decades old.

“We are seeing commercial pressure emerging from Woodside’s customers in Japan and Korea, who are encouraging us to develop hydrogen power as a carbon-neutral energy source that can ultimately be derived from renewable sources,” said Woodside CEO Peter Coleman.

Woodside is currently working with Korea Gas Corp to potentially make ‘blue hydrogen’ produced from natural gas, before eventually shifting to ‘green hydrogen’, made from solar and wind energy.