Hydrogen is making the news in Gladstone, Australia, where it’s thought that great potential exists for a future export market.

The Gladstone Observer reported how hydrogen was compared to LNG in terms of the potential export opportunity, at this week’s Gladstone Regional Council meeting.

It described how Councillor PJ Sobhanian cited research from CSIRO as showing there were easier ways being developed to export hydrogen, with the comparison made to the lack of LNG industry in Australia 20 years ago.

According to 2016 statistics from Statista, Australia is now the world’s second-largest LNG exporter, behind Qatar.

There is now understood to be momentum building for Australia to develop a similar export market for hydrogen.

Last month saw BOC announce the signing of a collaboration agreement with CSIRO that would see the two organisations work together on the latter’s $3.4m ammonia to hydrogen cracking and membrane purification project.

As part of the agreement, BOC will contribute in-kind gas products, equipment and technical expertise worth in excess of AU$100,000 ($80,000) for the two-year project, now underway at CSIRO’s test site in Pullenvale, Brisbane. BOC will supply ammonia, which will be cracked and purified into pure hydrogen by the modular membrane technology unit developed by CSIRO. BOC engineers will also assist with compressing the hydrogen and storing it in special cylinder packs, then distributing it to customers on the Australian east coast for use in hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

Exclusive: BOC discusses collaboration with CSIRO

The revolutionary project is set to advance the global transition towards clean hydrogen for mobility and energy – and has potential to create a hydrogen export industry that will benefit Australia. In an exclusive interview, Alex Dronoff, BOC’s General Manager for Hydrogen, told gasworld, “This CSIRO project could potentially provide a missing link in the global hydrogen supply chain, allowing renewable hydrogen to be exported as ammonia and cracked back into pure hydrogen at the point of use.”

“This technology could open the door for a renewable hydrogen export market in Australia to meet rising demand in emerging markets Europe, Japan and South Korea.”

“While development of hydrogen infrastructure in Australia is slower than other regions, there is growing recognition from industry and government that hydrogen is a fuel of the future,” he added.

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