The hydrogen industry has long been recognised as a significant opportunity for growth and a key enabler of the energy transition. While investment and interest has fluctuated over the recent decades, analysis by the Futures team in 2016 identified that the global hydrogen industry was on the verge of reaching a tipping point and that Australia was well positioned to capture this opportunity.
The hydrogen industry is underpinned by a complex value chain, with a number of technologies at varying levels of maturity. It is also multi-disciplinary, requiring expertise across a number of sectors including electricity, oil and gas, transport and water. This required the development of a roadmap that helped frame industry scale up and coordinate investment amongst key stakeholder groups.
CSIRO Futures, with support from CSIRO Energy, led the development of the National Hydrogen Roadmap. The Futures team combined its expertise in developing investment strategies for emerging industries with CSIRO's deep research capabilities across the hydrogen value chain to help provide a blueprint for an economically sustainable hydrogen industry in Australia.
The Hydrogen Roadmap set out a strategy for turning the emerging technologies that underpin a hydrogen economy into bankable assets, as a foundation for building an economically sustainable industry in Australia.
The project considered the full scope of potential applications for hydrogen including electricity/energy storage, heat, transport and industrial uses. The Futures team undertook detailed techno-economic assessments for each application for hydrogen. This, combined with broad stakeholder consultation and strategic analysis were then used to develop an investment framework that outlined the commercial models, policy/regulations and RD&D investment required to allow hydrogen utilisation to become competitive in local and global markets.
Launched in 2018, the National Hydrogen Roadmap provided a comprehensive strategy for realising the opportunity for a hydrogen industry in Australia. The report has been used both nationally and internationally to inform investment across the value chain.
While initiated by CSIRO, the Roadmap was supported by over 20 organisations representing government, research as well as local and global industry. The report was also developed in parallel with, and used as the primary reference for the National Hydrogen Strategy led by Australia's Chief Scientist and the Opportunities from Hydrogen Export report produced by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. The techno-economic models and strategic analysis developed as part of the report continue to inform a number of projects and are still being used extensively by industry today.
The Futures team's unique capabilities in leveraging CSIRO's broad scientific expertise helped industry and government understand the commercial opportunities that stemming from R&D developments.