A new CSIRO scheme could see Australia become an exporter of solar energy through hydrogen fuel.
The CSIRO Future Science Platforms are a multi-disciplinary investment bringing CSIRO and partners together to work on new ideas.
Six Future Science Platforms were created to underpin innovation in health and biology, resources, agriculture and manufacturing. They also have the potential to support the reinvention and creation of new industries and new jobs for Australia.
This week the CSIRO launched two new Future Science Platforms to make Australia a renewable energy exporter and hydrogen fuel hotspot.
The CSIRO is investing $13.5 million into hydrogen fuel research and tailored health solutions.
Australia has potential to be a hydrogen fuel powerhouse
Australia has access to vast energy resources through solar, wind, biomass, natural gas and coal. All of these can be used to produce hydrogen.
As a result, Australia could become a world-leading exporter of low emissions hydrogen.
The fuel could also be used domestically in transport, power generation and to offset more carbon-intensive resources.
CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall also believes investing in challenging and riskier science will ensure research continues to meet the needs of industry, community and the environment.
“Today’s announcement adds two new Future Science Platforms to our portfolio, which will transform two of Australia’s most critical sectors – energy and health,” Dr Marshall said.
“Under our strategy 2020, we’re committed to increasing funding for science that underpins innovation and will reinvent and create new industries and jobs for Australia’s future.”
Hydrogen could assist with electricity grid security
Dr Marshall also said hydrogen has the potential to act as energy storage in order to stabilise the electricity grid.
This will counteract one of the concerns of renewable energy such as solar and wind. Both have yet to prove they can provide the kind of demand response traditionally provided by coal-fired turbines.
Trials are currently underway to show how renewables can provide grid security and demand response and replace fossil fuels.
Wind and solar farms could also be spread across a state to generate power at different times so output is predictable.
Cheap renewables combined with batteries and demand response management could keep the system reliable and lower power bills.