Leading bio-hydrogen experts from around Australia visited Bundaberg on Friday for the second Bundaberg and Wide Bay Bio-Hydrogen Cluster Group Series.
The keynote speaker was Professor Ian Mackinnon from QUT/Queensland Hydrogen Taskforce.
He has more than 10 years’ experience in technology transfer, including direct involvement with two start-up companies, as well as serving on numerous boards.
Professor Mackinnon was recently appointed by the Queensland Government to be part of the specialist hydrogen task force to fast-track the establishment of a sustainable hydrogen supply chain.
Other speakers included Philip Sohn from ReCarbon; Fiona Waterhouse from Utilitas, who are developing the Bundaberg Biohub; Claire Johnson from Hyzon Zero Carbon Alliance; and Luke Sinclair from CQU.
Bundaberg Regional Council Executive Director Strategic Projects and Economic Development Ben Artup said the event confirmed the Bundaberg Region as a key player in the bioeconomy sector.
“Our speakers updated us on local hydrogen production projects, the growth of hydrogen as a fuel source and how countries around the world are maximising its use,” Ben said.
“They illustrated how battery and fuel cells can be complimentary and how equipment supply, while currently the largest potential barrier for green hydrogen markets, can be overcome with technology and smart thinking.
“They also spoke about current hydrogen opportunities being in transport/mobility – hydrogen or dual fuel powered vehicles; wastewater treatment plants, using the biomass from the wastewater to power the plants; agriculture/horticulture converting biomass to power; and heavy industry.
“Existing gas pipelines are another opportunity, with the gas network able to take up to 10% hydrogen.
“Speakers challenged everyone in the room to change their mindset on Renewable Energy generation. We need to build both domestic and export capacity for energy storage and regional locations such as Bundaberg should be included.”
Luke Sinclair from CQU spoke about how the university was delivering new short courses to meet the emerging industry need – Hydrogen Basics, Hydrogen Production, Hydrogen Storage and Transportation and Hydrogen as a fuel.
“We have a small window of opportunity,” Ben said.
“Policy settings are being tweaked and upgraded, and there are plenty of reports on clean energy generation, storage and use but government policy needs to keep up with the changes.”
He said attendees left the Bundaberg and Wide Bay Bio-Hydrogen Cluster Group with plenty to think about for the future.
“Key transitions involve generation, storage and the use of Renewable Energy; integrating systems using new technologies; and maximising existing infrastructure (pipelines, powerlines, transport networks).
“It’s important that we build resilient manufacturing/assembly capacity which in turn, reduces sovereign risk.
“It’s also important that coordination occurs across portfolios, both State and Federal government.”
The Bundaberg and Wide Bay Bio-Hydrogen Cluster Group Series is a quarterly event.
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