Top researchers gather in Adelaide to help Australia realise its potential to be a global leader in clean energy

May 11, 2023

Scientists and researchers conducting world-leading research into hydrogen and decarbonisation are  gathering this week in Adelaide to share learnings that will help Australia realise its potential to be a global leader in clean energy.

Future Energy Exports Cooperative Research Centre (FEnEx CRC) CEO Professor Eric May said a major topic of discussion will be the focus on clean energy in the Federal Budget and how researchers can maximise opportunities in the initiatives outlined by the Treasurer.

“In his Budget speech the Federal Treasurer outlined that Australia’s biggest opportunity for growth and prosperity is being driven by the global shift to clean energy,” Professor May said.

“Our job as researchers is helping translate this ambition into reality.”

Professor May said his organisation’s annual conference could not have been better timed.

“At the event we have some prominent speakers including former chief scientist Alan Finkel and CEO of the Climate Change Authority Brad Archer who will be challenging our research community and encouraging greater collaboration,” he said.

In his address Professor Alan Finkel will outline that the biggest challenge for hydrogen is storage as well as highlight that the energy export industry must consider the role of “incremental improvements versus going for zero”.

“Cost-effective storage is critically important to the success of hydrogen, so I was pleased to see that one of the major conference themes is underground hydrogen storage,” Professor Finkel said.

“When I look at what is happening overseas it seems that the strongest interest is to aim for zero. That is certainly the case in electricity generation, where zero-emissions electricity can be delivered by solar, wind, hydropower or nuclear power. It also appears to be the case for steelmaking, where the excitement is in zero emissions hydrogen-direct-reduced iron production rather than small improvements to blast furnace operations.

“There is an opportunity for Australia to establish our credentials as not only a low-cost energy exporter, but one that produces those exports with the lowest by-product emissions. If Australia is smart, we can be part of the revolution and the Future Energy Exports CRC can show the way.”

Climate Change Authority CEO Brad Archer is also going to be addressing the gathering researchers and scientists and will outline that governments, businesses and communities must work together if Australia is to meet its greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets and also improve its resilience to climate change impacts.

“Australia needs to reduce emissions by around 17 Mt CO2-e per year (on average) to meet its 2030 target and to reach net zero by 2050, this is 40 per cent faster than it has since 2009,” Mr Archer said.

Mr Archer will be outlining that the technologies for meeting Australia’s 2030 emissions reduction target exist, but the scale and speed of the task demand greater attention, planning and action.

“We need to ensure we have the necessary supply chains, skilled workforces, timely planning and approvals processes and community support for the actions we need to take,” Mr Archer said.

“Looking beyond 2030 to achieving net zero and even net negative emissions, we need to invest strategically in the technologies that will help in areas where we don’t currently have all the answers.

“Through government policy actions and the decisions of investors, businesses and households, our momentum is building. This needs to continue, including to ensure we realise our potential to be a leader on climate action – potential that stems from having some of the world’s best renewable energy resources, large reserves of the raw materials required for clean technologies, considerable scope to sequester carbon in the landscape and opportunities to decarbonise exports with high embedded emissions.”

Hosted by one of Australia’s pre-imminent industry-led research organisations, the Future Energy Exports Cooperative Research Centre’s (FEnEx CRC) 2nd Annual Conference is being held at the Adelaide Convention Centre on 11 and 12 May 2023.

With a theme of “Develop, de-risk, decarbonise this decade and beyond”, this conference is a key platform for learning about the latest industry-driven research and advances initiatives designed to help Australia navigate towards a better energy exports future.

The Australian Petroleum Producers and Explorers Association, the Asia Natural Gas and Energy Association, Hysata, Beach Energy and ARUP will be presenting.

Research leaders working on or developing FEnEx CRC projects include Net Zero Australia, Clean Marine Fuels, Digital Competencies, Ammonia Iron Ore Reduction and International CO2 Shipping. Each will present updates and insights, while respected analyst Saul Kavonic will present his take on the future of Australia’s gas industry.

FEnEx CRC CEO Professor Eric May said the conference encourages collaboration and learning across the private and public sectors, as well as academia, to drive improvements in the traditional oil and gas sector as well as accelerate Australia’s ambition to be a green energy superpower.

“This conference is about bringing together the entire energy value chain and encouraging face-toface collaboration,” Professor May said.

“Created by a consortium of industry, government and academia, FEnEx CRC is rapidly developing an international standing for its innovation and we have put together an influential conference programme that highlights the globally-leading solutions we are working on.

FEnEx CRC is funded by the Australian Government under the Cooperative Research Centre Program.

MEDIA CONTACT: James Bowie 0424 013 756

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