01/02/2021 - 00:00

NERA in $1.75m hydrogen seed round

01/02/2021 - 00:00

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Three hydrogen innovation clusters could be created in WA after a $1.75 million seed funding boost by National Energy Resources Australia.

NERA in $1.75m hydrogen seed round
Paul Hodgson says Australia could get more out of hydrogen than just production.

Three hydrogen innovation clusters could be created in WA after a $1.75 million seed funding boost by National Energy Resources Australia.

They will be part of at least 13 hubs in a national cluster intended to spark a new hydrogen industry and capture value from research.

The Hydrogen Society of Australia will pick up $200,000, while two other groups will receive $75,000 each: an alliance of the City of Karratha and Yara Pilbara Fertilisers, and separately, a consortium of Murdoch University and six partners.

The Hydrogen Society cluster will focus on transport and remote operations, while Murdoch’s Jandakot cluster will be themed around green hydrogen.

“Western Australia wants to be a technology-maker, not a technology-taker,” WA Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan said.

“We know our state has the natural resources to be a major player in a global renewable hydrogen industry, but to extract the full value out of hydrogen, we need to build skills and expertise in hydrogen technology development.

“The (state) government is investing in hydrogen technology clusters across our state to put WA at (the) forefront of hydrogen technology, building on our renowned capabilities in resources and logistics.”

Speaking to Business News, NERA general manager innovation and stakeholder engagement Paul Hodgson said 58 organisations had applied for funding through the program.

The $1.75 million will seed the 13 clusters, which will then be able to develop membership and business cases.

“The first year of these clusters will enable them to hone the value proposition and work on their business plans going forward,” Mr Hodgson said.

“We’re excited to see what happens.”

Hydrogen is considered a potential long term export opportunity for WA, eventually replacing the LNG industry, but there will be challenges to bring down the cost of renewable hydrogen production.

There’s also an argument that hydrogen could be cheaper to produce near where it will be used, rather than at large scale, liquefied, and shipped, like natural gas is.

Mr Hodgson said the opportunities are beyond exporting, however, including technology and knowledge development.

“We want to make sure if we end up with a hydrogen industry in Australia, we’re not just building construction projects, but (extracting value),” he said.

The intention was to leverage beyond local projects, Mr Hodgson said.

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