Response 810399537

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Introduction

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Ian Macindoe

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Parramatta Climate Action Network (ParraCAN)

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Australian Capital Territory
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Queensland
South Australia
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Your comments

Survey questions

What do you think are the two or three most significant recent developments in hydrogen?
Uptake at a national level in several countries --- e.g. South Korea, Japan --- and vigorous initiatives in development of applications to industry and transport. In Australia the creation of a National Strategy for Hydrogen and support for kickstart projects. Australian research on low cost hydrogen storage via hydrides.
What are the most important safety issues to consider in producing, handling and using hydrogen in Australia?
Clarification on exact details of hydrogen safety and education of public to alert people to safety issues as well as conveying accurate information to allay unreasonable fears.
What environmental and community impacts should we examine?
With GHG emissions in mind, comparative cost-benefit analyses of alternative technologies that take all costs into account e.g. costs of producing hydrogen to include embedded costs of material and energy sources. One example in which I am interested is the costs of hydrogen fuel cell electric motors vs battery electric motors, including hybrids and plug-in hybrids. Also the relative costs and benefits when these motors are applied to ships, trains, trucks, buses, forklifts, airplanes, and motor cars.
How can Australia influence and accelerate the development of a global market for hydrogen?
Australia is obviously a small market internally, so innovative technology applications that can be exported and adapted overseas may be the best way.
What are the top two or three factors required for a successful hydrogen export industry?
I leave that to more informed participants to address.
What are the top two or three opportunities for the use of clean hydrogen in Australia?
Renewable energy hydrogen, if it can be cheaply produced via electrolysis in industrial quantity, should be applied to new technology for the production of, for example, aluminium and similar products that currently use fossil fuels.
What are the main barriers to the use of hydrogen in Australia?
Vested interests in continued mining, use, and exporting of fossil fuels. Government inaction or reticence to innovate; risk-averse attitudes at both the public and private levels. In short, the great Australian tradition of inertia or 'wait and see'. Foot-dragging in the move to renewable energy that must underpin the production and application of hydrogen.
What are some examples where a strategic national approach could lower costs and shorten timelines for developing a clean hydrogen industry?
See comment to last question above. Perhaps the public should be provided with opportunities to invest in clean hydrogen projects, in a similar way to investments by citizens in wind farms. Private industry could be encouraged to explore such options. A vigorous national approach to transitioning to renewable energy as quickly and as massively as possible is key. Electrolysis technology applied at mass industrial level can lower the cost of clean hydrogen. R & D in this field seems to me to be crucial.
What are Australia’s key technology, regulatory and business strengths and weaknesses in the development of a clean hydrogen industry?
An educated science and technology sector --- e.g. CSIRO etc. A well-organised regulatory tradition and relatively uncorrupted public service sector. Business initiatives that need to be encouraged and supported to innovate. Weeknesses seem to be lack of political will and lack of public demand for action.
What workforce skills will need to be developed to support a growing clean hydrogen industry?
Education in the science and technology of hydrogen production and application seems to me to be key in the development of workforce skills. Great emphasis should be applied to the retraining opportunities along these lines of displaced workers in fossil fuel mining and manufacturing sectors. Training / educational opportunities for people who need to transition out of fossil fuel employment into the renewable energy sector.
What areas in hydrogen research, development and deployment need attention in Australia? Where are the gaps in our knowledge?
I leave that to our more tech savvy participants.
Do you have any other comments or submissions to this process?
I think that there is a need for greater public awareness and understanding of the pros and cons, and the opportunities and likely developments that attend the use of hydrogen. The general Australian public, I think, lacks a proper understanding of the possibilities that attend the application of hydrogen as a carrier of energy. The mainstream media do not appear to be particularly interested in alerting your average TV viewer, newspaper reader, or broadcast listener to what is possible, what may be probable and what is certain to emerge from hydrogen technology. What is needed to correct this lack is mainstream media material that is somewhere between science fiction and dull old reporting.