Response 592400147

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Simon Coburn

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University of Melbourne student

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Australian Capital Territory
New South Wales
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Western Australia

Your comments

Survey questions

What do you think are the two or three most significant recent developments in hydrogen?
Formal announcements from Japan and South Korea that they intend to develop national hydrogen economies. Availability of grid scale electrolysers that can respond quickly enough to soak up surplus electricity.
What are the most important safety issues to consider in producing, handling and using hydrogen in Australia?
The most important safety issue is that many Australians probably think hydrogen is dangerous because of the Hindenburg Disaster. It is safe when handled appropriately (like petrol and natural gas). A public education campaign might be helpful.
What environmental and community impacts should we examine?
Hydrogen's potential to reduce emissions. Please frame a hydrogen economy as an opportunity not a risk.
How can Australia influence and accelerate the development of a global market for hydrogen?
By creating a futures market in hydrogen to supply the emerging customers in Japan and South Korea. By deploying renewable energy generation beyond the reach of the national electricity grid and using it to manufacture and export hydrogen. By building a small, modern, nuclear power station in a remote location volunteered by the local community to generate hydrogen as a demonstration project.
What are the top two or three factors required for a successful hydrogen export industry?
Bipartisan political support. The same level of industrial support that has been provided to other successful ventures in Australia - such as the natural gas industry in WA in the 1970's (a 30 year venture). Sovereign industrial capability - an ability to do all of this without relying on foreign expertise that might desert us when we need it most.
What are the top two or three opportunities for the use of clean hydrogen in Australia?
To reduce carbon emissions in the fertiliser and steel industries. Export.
What are the main barriers to the use of hydrogen in Australia?
Volumetric specific energy of hydrogen. Established fossil fuel infrastructure. No hydrogen companies are making political donations.
What are some examples where a strategic national approach could lower costs and shorten timelines for developing a clean hydrogen industry?
Study and apply examples of previous successful industrial deployments: Snowy Mountains scheme Metrology between WW1 and WW2 followed by a car industry after WW2 Woomera rocket program followed by Nulka Natural Gas industry in WA Collins Class submarine
What are Australia’s key technology, regulatory and business strengths and weaknesses in the development of a clean hydrogen industry?
Australia is very good at frugal, complex, technical deployments when politicians give bipartisan support, the right people are appointed and the governance structures are right. See Trillion Dollar Baby for ideas about how to get it right. See NBN for ideas about how politicians can stuff it up. See Mineral Resources Rent Tax for ideas about how corporations can undermine it.
What workforce skills will need to be developed to support a growing clean hydrogen industry?
Top to bottom. A lot of the expertise has already been developed and deployed in places like UK, Japan, Germany and California. Seek assistance if possible to accelerate the process then establish an independent training system for a national hydrogen industry.
What areas in hydrogen research, development and deployment need attention in Australia? Where are the gaps in our knowledge?
How to make green steel.
Do you have any other comments or submissions to this process?
Please consider sovereign industrial capability. Australians have an almost unique combination of pessimism about their own industrial capabilities, a rapid take up of new technologies and a faith in "free markets" (no market is free). Times are changing. We know from numerous examples around the world that government plays a key role in the early days of any industry when the risks exceed the appetite of corporations. There is now a genuine possibility that Australia can become a renewable energy superpower. Depending on energy demand and how climate change unfolds, this renewable energy transition might require nuclear power as the least worst option. Either way, we should establish a sovereign industrial capability and seize the full economic and social benefit of this new era in our economy rather than outsourcing it to foreign companies. We need to restore the sort of confidence that built the Snowy Mountains scheme.