A report from the national science agency, CSIRO, has mapped the critical research steps Australia must take to realise a potential 7600 jobs and $11 billion a year by 2050 from the burgeoning hydrogen industry.

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The report found investing in research could solve industry challenges to create five key national opportunities: hydrogen exports; integration of hydrogen into gas networks; transport; electricity systems; and industrial processes.

Steps to translate Australia’s strong hydrogen research capability into a key pillar of the nation’s energy and export profile are laid out in Hydrogen Research Development & Demonstration (RD&D): Priorities and Opportunities for Australia.

Australia's current hydrogen research footprint includes 23 institutions actively exploring hydrogen in various technology and research areas as well as another 23 hydrogen-specific demonstration projects and research facilities around Australia.

CSIRO Research Director Dr Patrick Hartley said CSIRO was on a mission to bring together industry, government and other research organisations to fast-track emerging hydrogen technologies.

"This isn't limited to the domestic industry development – we'll link Australian expertise with international projects," Dr Hartley said.

"The overall focus will be on enabling Australia's domestic and export hydrogen industries.

"Importantly, solving the challenges identified can have a multiplier effect that boosts demand for hydrogen – particularly in large scale industrial settings – and encourages further hydrogen supply cost reductions through improvements in efficiency and economies of scale."

To stimulate domestic and international collaboration, CSIRO had also developed an interactive Technology Marketplace for industry, government and other research institutions to understand technology benefits, current state, RD&D priorities and active Australian institutions.

In developing the report, researchers undertook extensive consultation including interviews with representatives from 35 industry and government organisations, over 80 interviews with researchers from 23 institutions, and an extensive literature review.

The report was sponsored by the Department of Innovation, Industry and Science, the Victorian Government, Woodside, BHP, ARENA and Origin.

It builds on CSIRO's 2018 National Hydrogen Roadmap and contributed to the development of the recently-released Australia’s National Hydrogen Strategy.

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