Deakin University’s Warrnambool hydrogen energy project has received a $2 million Australian Government grant.
The funding, announced today by Federal Member for Wannon Dan Tehan, will support the first stage of a hydrogen hub to enable the creation of a research, manufacturing and supply chain project in Warrnambool.
“This hub will help supply green energy at a competitive price to meet the needs of the community and power the region’s industry, transport and energy markets,” Mr Tehan said.
“The Hydrogen Council predicts the global hydrogen market will be worth around $US2.5 trillion by 2050. Australia’s Chief Scientist has also nominated hydrogen as a potential area of emerging priority and one where Australia’s current circumstances could create a competitive advantage.”
Deakin University will lead the project with Kenworth and Warrnambool City Council.
When the initial phase is complete, Deakin University will work to establish a 4.5ha hydrogen precinct site that will support fuel cell manufacturing, gas pipeline testing and the development of safety and standards protocols.
“The industry and community organisations that partner or co-locate within the Warrnambool-based precinct will also benefit,” Mr Tehan said.
“This energy precinct will set a template for other regions that are looking to collaborate on projects that align with Government priorities.”
Warrnambool Mayor Cr Tony Herbert said the project aligned with the long-term community plan, Warrnambool 2040, which contains a goal for the Warrnambool municipality to be carbon-neutral by 2040 with energy provided by renewable sources.
“Green initiatives are also wonderful for the economy,” Cr Herbert said.
“It’s given Deakin the largest research facility in the South West and a great boost to launch into uncharted territory … it’s a great opportunity to explore the next wave.”
Deakin University’s Director Energy Dr Adrian Panow said the research at the hub would focus on how homes and industry could transition from the use of diesel and natural gas to hydrogen.
“It’s difficult to decarbonise the transport industry without hydrogen,” Dr Panow said.
“We need to take our research and scale it up to have global relevance.”
A catalyst for Deakin University’s push into hydrogen, which does not emit greenhouse gases, was hosting a forum earlier this year at which a delegation from the Swedish regional city of Mariestad presented its work on hydrogen.
Mariestad’s local government body has completed a project in which hydrogen is generated using renewable solar power. The hydrogen is used to power municipal vehicles and work is under way to use hydrogen to heat public buildings.
Warrnambool City Council signed a memorandum of understanding with Mariestad, which contains commitments to share knowledge and insights on renewable energy.