Dr Stephen Berry with David Whaley in one of the energy labs at University of SA in Adelaide. Uni of Sa will build a hydrogen production and a 50kW hydrogen fuel cell after receiving a grant from the then Turnbull Government. Australia’s hydrogen industry is in its infancy. Kelly Barnes/The Australia
Dr Stephen Berry with David Whaley in one of the energy labs at University of SA in Adelaide. Uni of Sa will build a hydrogen production and a 50kW hydrogen fuel cell after receiving a grant from the then Turnbull Government. Australia’s hydrogen industry is in its infancy. Kelly Barnes/The Australia

Northern Rivers ideal for a ‘hydrogen cluster’ says RDA

THE Northern Rivers could become a hub for Australia's emerging green hydrogen industry and there's been a call for local businesses to partner in a potential "hydrogen consortium".

Regional Development Australia Northern Rivers is currently preparing an expression of interest in a program which would eventually establish a network of "hydrogen technology clusters" around Australia.'

RDA Northern Rivers director Tim Williamson said the Northern Rivers was an ideal placed for a green hydrogen cluster to be established.

"We are just putting out the feelers to establish what interest level there is to look at hydrogen cluster," he said.

"I think our region is a good region for this because we have a social licence for renewable energy across Northern Rivers and there are organisations and businesses that are interested in hydrogen energy."

The CEO of Enova Energy, Felicity Stening, confirmed they would be interested in partnering up with a green hydrogen project.

"The announcement is wonderful to hear because we think more renewables on the Northern Rivers is a great thing," she said.

"We would be more than happy to partner with RDA Northern Rivers in their expression of interest."

Hydrogen can be used as a fuel to power homes, transport and heavy industry, although as a technology it's in its infancy in Australia.

Most of the hydrogen currently being produced in the world is described as "blue hydrogen" which uses natural gas and a process called "steam methane reforming" or "coal gasification" which turns coal into hydrogen.

However, green hydrogen uses electricity created by renewable energy to split the hydrogen from water and this has zero emissions.

RDA Northern Rivers is currently preparing an expression of interest for the National Energy Resources Australia (NERA) Regional Hydrogen Technology Clusters seed funding program.

These clusters could help "accelerate and optimise" the development of hydrogen technology and expertise.

Once established, this network of hydrogen clusters would play a central role in connecting to establish the national cluster - which is proposed to operate as a virtual network.

NERA has estimated an Australian hydrogen industry could increase gross domestic product by up to $11 billion and create 7,600 jobs by 2050.

RDA Northern Rivers is seeking input from small to medium enterprises based here who may be working in the area of hydrogen technology to potentially be part of a Northern Rivers hydrogen consortium.

Indeed, they have already had several organisations contact them about the proposal.

If you are interested in the project and potentially joining a consortium please contact RDA Northern Rivers at input@rdanorthernrivers.org.au



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