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Peter Long: Karratha and Western Australia can lead Australia’s hydrogen future

October 8 was International Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day, first celebrated in the US in 2015 and in Perth for Australia since 2019. I spoke at this event of what is happening with hydrogen here in the Pilbara.

Hydrogen is big news these days as it is seen as a key part of the solution for storage and transport of renewable energy.

It has more than 100 times the energy density of the best lithium-ion batteries, it is light, can be piped long distances and stored for long periods without losing power — unlike a battery.

As long as it is made using renewable energy, its combustion results in zero CO2 emissions.

The Federal Government has seen the opportunity Australia has to take the lead in the emerging global market for clean energy and has invested in 15 national hydrogen technology clusters across the nation to help bring this to fruition.

WA is fortunate to have three of the 15, here in the Pilbara, in Perth and the Peel region.

Clusters are geographically close groups of companies and institutions linked by a common purpose.

Our Pilbara cluster is in a region where bulk renewable hydrogen will be created from our abundant sunshine and wind resources and exported, so we are looking at ways to make this happen.

The Peel cluster is surrounded by agricultural areas and the dense Perth population, so is considering H2 creation from sewage, food and agriculture wastes.

Its proximity to bauxite, lithium and gold mines, plus the alumina refinery offers all sorts of opportunities for creation and use of hydrogen for transport and energy.

The Perth cluster will use its domestic and international connections to facilitate investment, research and development of this important new industry.

These are exciting opportunities for WA.

  • Peter Long is the City of Karratha Mayor

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