Hydrogen a key driver: Finkel

Australia’s Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel.

Australia’s Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel.

Australia’s Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel, has thrown his support behind hydrogen at the launch of the Australian Council of Learned Academies’ (ACOLA) The role of energy storage in Australia’s future energy mix report this week.

The report shows that Australia has a wealth of natural advantages that could aid the development of new industries, exports and create jobs in mining and manufacturing.

It also warns that without proper planning and investment in energy storage, electricity costs in Australia will continue to rise and electricity supply will become less reliable.

Speaking at the launch of the report at Parliament House in Canberra on Monday, Dr Finkel said he was very pleased with the report.

“It’s looking at the opportunity to export sunshine, take sunshine, wind, renewable electricity, and use that through electrolysis to make hydrogen and from hydrogen you make ammonia and ammonia is easy to ship and you can send it to countries that have indicated that they will have a not only growing, but a huge demand for hydrogen and they want clean hydrogen going into the future, countries such as Japan and Korea,” said Dr Finkel.

“So there are many, many diverse opportunities for Australia and I think this report has captured, well, all of them that I’m aware of so I’m very pleased with this report.”

Dr Finkel also moved to dismiss any suggestion that partisan politics were behind the report, pointing out that it doesn’t have any recommendations and isn’t a government commissioned report.

“This report does not address anybody’s policy, anybody’s theories,” said Dr Finkel.

“This report is about storage, storage through batteries, storage through pumped hydro, storage through creating hydrogen.

“Don’t forget hydrogen has got enormous potential, where you take the electricity, clean electricity, to make hydrogen from water and you don’t have to use it to then regenerate electricity – that’s one possible use – but using it to substitute methane, that’s natural gas in our reticulated gas supply is another important use and that is storage.

“You can store an enormous amount of energy in the gas or hydrogen that’s packed in the pipes.

“This is not a report that’s making recommendations about anybody’s policy at all.”

You can read ACOLA’s The role of energy storage in Australia’s future energy mix report here.

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