Renewable hydrogen has the potential to be a major new industry for Western Australia according to the newly formed Renewable Hydrogen Council.

State minister Alannah MacTiernan is leading the new council, comprising members of government, research bodies (ARENA and the CSIRO), and representatives from industry (such as Woodside, Engie, and ATCO Gas).

The CSIRO recently demonstrated it could refuel two fuel cell vehicles and has also released what is essentially a “blueprint” for the development of the hydrogen industry in Australia.

Currently, lack of supporting infrastructure and the cost of hydrogen supply are barriers to industry ramp up, but these can be overcome “via a series of strategic investments along the value chain from both the private and public sector”, the CSIRO said.

Source: CSIRO

The market potential for hydrogen is huge — though investment opportunities are limited at the moment.

Perth-based Hazer Group (ASX:HZR) is one of the few ASX-listed players dabbling in hydrogen.

The company has a developed a technology for producing hydrogen and graphite from natural gas and iron ore.

One of Hazer’s goals is to be the first to supply hydrogen to the Australian market using its own technology, co-founder Dr Andrew Cornejo told Stockhead in August.

“Generally, hydrogen in Australia is produced by industries for use within their own processes (captive hydrogen), such as the production of ammonia and petrochemical refining,” Dr ACornejo said.

The global market is said to be worth $US130 billion ($177.6 billion) and the industry is forecast to grow to $US2.5 trillion by 2050, according to a recent Morgan Stanley report.

Hydrogen can be burned, used to create electricity, or stored for future energy generation or export.

“As the world moves to a lower carbon future, Western Australia has enormous potential to provide the clean energy the world will need, but the imperative is to move quickly and strategically,” minister MacTiernan said.

The council will deliver its recommendations in early 2019.