In 2018, Japan released its "Fifth Strategic Energy Plan", which outlined the country's new energy policy towards 2030 and 2050 with an emphasis on the use of hydrogen. In the two years that have followed, a plethora of countries have announced their own national hydrogen strategies, in what can be seen as a global shift towards using hydrogen as a primary energy source. Canada is expected to follow, with the federal government stating that a comprehensive hydrogen strategy is to be released by the end of this summer.

In preparation for Canada's release, we have mapped out the national hydrogen strategies proposed by Australia, South Korea, Japan, Germany and the European Union in brief posts. We hope this comparison will acquaint readers with global developments in hydrogen, as Canada readies its national hydrogen strategy.

This first post examines Australia's national hydrogen energy strategy.


The following table provides a brief overview of Australia's hydrogen energy strategy.

Scale of Funding Types of Projects Governance
Australia Close to US$297 million invested by various levels of government in hydrogen projects along the supply chain, focusing on areas like research and development (R&D), feasibility, demonstration, and pilot projects. Primary focus is export market.

Using solar, wind, and hydro resources to build Australian hydrogen supply chains and large-scale industry infrastructures for clean hydrogen export.

Will use carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies to produce clean hydrogen through natural resources like coal and natural gas.
Development and implementation of hydrogen is led and designed primarily by the Australian Hydrogen Council (AHC), in collaboration with governments.

The AHC includes 33 members from energy, transport, consulting and technology sectors, and the Australian Government has committed to supporting its efforts.

Recognizing growing global demand for hydrogen on the horizon, including from both South Korea and Japan, Australia's hydrogen strategy is primarily focused on the export market. Specifically, Australia sees hydrogen energy as a means to strengthen Australia's energy exports sector. As stated by Angus Taylor, Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, "The development of hydrogen resources could enhance Australia's energy security, create Australian jobs, and build an export industry valued in the billions. We have all the pieces needed to create this new industry and supply clean hydrogen to the world."

Australia's key policy targets align with that goal. The most notable is the "H2 under $2" objective, by which Australia aims to produce hydrogen that will be available for under A$2 per kilogram (approximately C$1.89 and US$1.43). It is at that price point where Australia sees hydrogen energy as truly able to compete with other energy alternatives in large-scale deployment across the energy system.

Notable Projects

In partnership with Japan, Australia and the State of Victoria developed the Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC) pilot project. The HESC is demonstrating the world's first fully integrated hydrogen supply chain, starting with hydrogen production from brown coal in the Latrobe Valley, Victoria, and ending with its transportation to Japan. The project includes the transportation of liquefied hydrogen in a world-first, purpose-built liquefied hydrogen carrier operated by Kawasaki.

In an effort to achieve "H2 under $2", the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has dedicated over $55 million to hydrogen projects (with $22.1 million dedicated to renewable hydrogen for export). Alberta-based company ATCO is among those companies supported by this funding. In July 2019, ATCO opened its Clean Energy Innovation Hub (CEIH) in Jandakot, Western Australia, to be used as a test bed for solar photovoltaics, battery storage, hydrogen production, and hydrogen blending with natural gas infrastructure. In July 2020, ATCO was among seven companies shortlisted for ARENA's $70-million Renewable Hydrogen Development Funding Round, funding aimed to support commercial-scale deployments of renewable hydrogen in Australia.

Key Takeaways

Australia's National Hydrogen Strategy reflects a desire to become the leader in clean hydrogen energy exports, underpinning this strategy with a domestic-focused goal of moving towards more sustainable energy sources, including by using CCS technologies to produce clean hydrogen through natural resources like coal and natural gas.

On July 9, 2020, the AHC and the Canadian Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association (CHFCA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to work together on the commercial deployment of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. Both the CHFCA and the AHC represent leading companies and organizations in the global hydrogen and fuel cell sector. The MOU sets forth a joint plan to raise awareness of the benefits of hydrogen and fuel cells, and promote business and research collaboration.  

Originally published August 25, 2020.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.