Funding, Hydrogen, Projects, Renewables

HyGATE: Australia and Germany in joint hydrogen funding plan

Funding recipients have been announced in the Australia-Germany HyGATE initiative, which seeks mutual benefits for both nations in green hydrogen production, writes Uma Singh.

In late January 2023, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency announced conditional funding of up to $50 million, plus 50 million Euros, by Australia and Germany respectively, across four projects as part of the German-Australian Hydrogen Innovation and Technology Incubator (HyGATE).

ARENA, acting on behalf of the Federal Government’s Department of Climate Change, Energy, Environment and Water (DCCEEW), has joined Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) – through Project Management Jülich (PtJ) – to administer HyGATE.

The initiative’s objective is to strengthen Australian-German cooperation on reducing the cost of producing hydrogen from renewable sources and to stimulate the innovation process in both nations. It brings together Australian and German industry and research partners to deliver new hydrogen projects, primarily occurring in Australia.

HyGATE program recipients include Hysata ($8.98 million and €5.9 million), ATCO Australia ($0.8 million and €4.7 million), Edify Energy ($20.74 million and €16.4 million) and Vast Solar ($19.48 million and €13.2 million), all of which will use the funding to progress pilot, trial and demonstration hydrogen projects spanning electrolyser manufacturing to methanol production plants.

The Australian Hydrogen Council – the peak representative body for the Australian hydrogen industry – welcomes the conditional funding awarded by the Australian and German governments.

“International partnerships are fundamental to knowledge sharing so we combine our strengths and expertise to develop resilient supply chains and low-cost hydrogen,” says Australian Hydrogen Council CEO Dr Fiona Simon.

“The hydrogen industry has huge potential, but we need to work closely with our trade partners to progress technology and solutions to scale up as quickly as possible.

“Australia’s strengths lie in our wind and solar penetration, our stability as a nation and our reputation as a reliable exporter.

“This is an exciting opportunity for us to use Australian manufacturing and resources to meet Germany’s demand for hydrogen. We commend the Australian and German governments for delivering this project and look forward to seeing more policy in coming months that will continue to support the long-term development of the hydrogen industry.”

Hysata (pictured above), ATCO Australia, Edify Energy and Vast Solar were chosen based on their ability to deliver one or more specified outcomes:

  • Demonstrating highly innovative technology across the value chain of renewable hydrogen.
  • Reducing the cost of hydrogen production, transport, storage and use, and supporting the commercial viability of renewable hydrogen.
  • Developing an Australian-German supply chain for renewable hydrogen.
  • Encouraging cross-country collaboration and knowledge sharing between Australian and German organisations.
  • Providing price discovery and transparency in relation to current and projected economics for renewable hydrogen technologies.

“We are excited to announce these four hydrogen projects that demonstrate the benefit of global collaboration to achieve a new export industry in renewable hydrogen and push us further towards the goal of net-zero emissions,” says ARENA CEO Darren Miller.

“HyGATE highlights our strong relationship with Germany. Through our joint support we will bring together Australian innovation and state-of-the-art German renewable hydrogen technology for the benefit of both countries.”

Hysata will use the funding injection to ramp up development of a new type of electrolyser.

“We are proud to have the backing of the Australian and German governments as we rapidly scale up our high efficiency electrolyser,” says Hysata CEO Paul Barrett.

Electricity comprises most of the cost of green hydrogen so the most efficient electrolyser will deliver the lowest cost hydrogen.

“Hysata’s capillary fed electrolyser operates at 95 per cent system efficiency (41.5kWh/kg), delivering a giant leap in performance and cost over incumbent technologies, which typically operate at 75 per cent or less,” says Barrett.

“This high efficiency, coupled with a simple approach to mass manufacturing and low supply chain risk, is truly disruptive and will slash the cost of green hydrogen.

“Australia has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to be a global leader in green hydrogen and we are delighted to see the Federal Government backing Australian innovators.

“Our technology will enhance sovereign manufacturing capabilities, create high-skilled jobs and position Australia as a green hydrogen powerhouse by providing electrolysers for domestic projects and exports.

“Hysata’s electrolyser will help decarbonise hardest-to-abate sectors such as steelmaking, chemical production and heavy transport.”

Barrett says his company’s mission is to redefine the economics of green hydrogen.

“Green hydrogen is a vital energy vector on the world’s path to net zero,” he says. “The extensive end-use cases for green hydrogen translate to a greater than trillion-dollar market opportunity.”

ATCO Australia’s ScaleH2 project is supported by NSW Powerfuels and presents a pathway to the development of a 1GW electrolyser and 800ktpa ammonia facility in the Illawarra region of NSW. It has the potential to deliver advancements in electrolyser efficiency, green steel technologies, enhanced catalysts, coating and plate technologies, and underground storage solutions.

“The ScaleH2 project will further advance our ambitions to expand our capabilities as a hydrogen leader in Australia and the globe,” says Karen Nielsen, managing director, global renewables, ATCO Australia.

Edify Energy’s EGH2 project involves the deployment of a 17.5MW Siemens Energy electrolyser with 21MW solar PV integrated behind the meter to produce renewable hydrogen for domestic industrial and transport applications.

The project is the first stage of a planned 1GW green hydrogen production facility that will export hydrogen globally through the Port of Townsville, in Far North Queensland.

“Australia’s place on the world stage as a leading provider of green hydrogen is taking shape and we look forward to delivering the economic, environmental and social benefits of green hydrogen to communities of Northern Queensland and the world,” says John Cole, CEO, Edify Energy.

Vast Solar’s Solar Methanol (SM1) project involves the development of a methanol production plant using renewable energy. Through a 10MW electrolyser producing green hydrogen for solar methanol production, it is addressing an emerging market need for the supply of sustainable shipping and aviation fuel.

“SM1 will act as the catalyst for the solar methanol industry in Australia,” says Craig Wood, CEO, Vast Solar. “We are immensely proud of the pioneering work done by the Solar Methanol Consortium which has the potential to make a significant contribution to the world’s decarbonisation challenge.”

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