Australia signs an agreement with Germany for possible future hydrogen exports

Australia could one day produce and export hydrogen to one of Europe’s largest countries, following an agreement signed to explore potential for future collaboration.

Key points:

Australia and Germany have agreed to study the feasibility of a hydrogen supply industry

Hydrogen carries more energy than natural gas but its combustion does not produce carbon emissions

Trials are underway nationwide with hydrogen to generate cleaner energy

On Thursday, the Federal Government agreed to start a joint feasibility study with Germany on the development of a hydrogen supply chain between Germany and Australia.

Germany has committed to being greenhouse gas neutral by 2050 and aims to reduce its emissions by at least 55 percent by 2030, with hydrogen playing a role in reducing emissions. Hydrogen is attractive as a fuel source because it carries more energy than natural gas and contains no carbon, so burning it does not contribute to climate change and instead produces water.

Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said the partnership with Germany was “critical” to developing a national hydrogen industry and “Australia’s future as a clean energy export powerhouse.”

“Exploring opportunities for future collaboration on commercial scale operations and investments in hydrogen production is vital if Australia is to realize the significant economic benefits and job creation opportunities that hydrogen brings,” he said.

“This study kicks off the development of the future hydrogen supply chain with Germany, which could generate billions of dollars in export earnings for Australia and help them meet their future clean energy ambitions.”

The agreement with Germany is the latest in a series of similar partnerships, including a cooperation agreement with Japan and a letter of intent with South Korea.

Last year, the federal government outlined its national hydrogen roadmap, which specifies the importance of actively seeking bilateral agreements and partnerships.

There are also more than a dozen pilot projects across the country, including in Tasmania and Queensland, that are considering ways to add hydrogen to the natural gas mix for domestic use.

Resources Minister Keith Pitt said Australia’s history of being a reliable supplier and its abundance of natural resources put it in a good position to become a leader in the hydrogen industry.

“This agreement will open up another new market for our resources and potentially create thousands of new job opportunities for Australians in the future,” he said.

“Clean hydrogen is a transformative fuel that can be used to power vehicles, generate heat and electricity, and as a chemical feedstock in major industrial applications.”

The Government requests expressions of interest for the study from industry and research partners.