March 13, 2020
A future where Australia will remain at the forefront of energy provision to the world both through efficient LNG exports and beyond to international sales of clean hydrogen has been given a major boost following the announcement of an $162 million industry-backed research hub supported by a $40 million Federal Government grant.
Federal Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, the Hon Karen Andrews, announced today that a national collaboration of 28 industry, government and research partners had been successful in its bid to establish the Future Energy Exports Cooperative Research Centre (FEnEx CRC).
FEnEx CRC Acting CEO Professor Eric May from the University of Western Australia said the announcement has come at a critical juncture as the world grapples with the dichotomy of maintaining growth and economic energy supply while reducing emissions on an accelerated basis.
“In essence this CRC seeks to future-proof Australia’s energy exports through industrial-scale innovation” says Professor May.
The bid has been substantially supported by the WA State Government, global energy giant Chevron, Hydrogen leader ITM Power and mining innovator Mineral Resources with research partners UWA, Curtin University, Queensland University of Technology, University of South Australia and Swinburne University. The breadth of industry partners in the consortium span the entire energy supply chain from producers, through industrial designers and manufacturer, resources industry, infrastructure owners, power producers, and energy consumers. International companies and research organisations from Korea, Japan, China and Norway will also make significant contributions.
“The Future Energy Exports Cooperative Research Centre (FEnEx CRC) will execute cutting-edge, industry-led research, education and training to help sustain Australia’s position as a leading LNG exporter, and enable it to become the leading global Hydrogen exporter” Professor May said.
With the rapid emergence of cheaper global LNG Australia faces an existential threat to its vibrant LNG industry which offers the world some of the lowest emission and most secure energy solutions. The FEnEx CRC will develop the means to maintain the Australian LNG industry competitive edge by advancing efficiency solutions and employing technology for enhanced operations. To help achieve this the CRC plans to establish the LNG Futures Facility, a 10 tonne-per-day plant to be based at Kwinana announced by WA Premier Mark McGowan at the LNG19 conference in Shanghai almost a year ago.
Australia’s established LNG sector is a key advantage in the race to grow a Hydrogen export industry because of the similar workforce skills, engineering standards, shipping routes, and business relationships. Major Hydrogen research infrastructure, such as the H2Xport facility at Queensland University of Technology and Curtin University’s Biomass Gasification facility, will be used by the FEnEx CRC to accelerate industrial deployment.
“This national consortium will also offer evidence-based advice to inform the development of government policies, secure social licence to operate and help grow the markets needed to sustain hydrogen exports” said Professor May
Future Energy Exports CRC Chair Ms Mary Hackett said the consortium has a clear vision to sustain Australia’s role in the world as a premier energy provider.
“As we face a future of severe pressure to maintain living standards yet reduce adverse environmental effects the FEnEx CRC will work at a pragmatic level to make LNG production more efficient and less emissive while ensuring industry, academic and government partners work to co-create the framework, tools and technologies to position Australia as the leader in next generation fuels such as Hydrogen,” Ms Hackett said.