CQUniversity research set to drive regional hydrogen industry

09 September 2021

CQUniversity Australia has secured $2.1 million in Commonwealth funding to research and develop hydrogen applications for Central Queensland's burgeoning regional hydrogen industry.

Funded through the Government's Regional Research Collaboration (RRC) Program' the project will see CQUniversity collaborate with industry to determine research and innovations required to drive the adoption of green hydrogen for export in Gladstone and to develop the zero emissions technologies required by industry.

CQUniversity Vice-Chancellor Professor Nick Klomp welcomed the announcement and said the development of research capacity and capability in hydrogen technology was a key research strategy for CQUniversity.

"A recent report from ACL Allen states that the global green hydrogen industry represents a $2bn opportunity for Central Queensland with the potential for 11'000 jobs by 2032 – it's an opportunity that we must capitalise on with a concerted effort across research' industry and community'" Professor Klomp said.

"Developing research capability in hydrogen technologies and applications in regional Queensland is key to providing appropriate future education and training for regional jobs to take full advantage of what this emerging industry has to offer'" Professor Klomp said.

"This $2.1m project will connect existing research capabilities with new skills and competencies through partnerships with other universities' with about 80 percent of the planned research activity expected to occur in regional/remote areas.

"The project activities are focused on existing industry needs and relationships and will encourage further collaboration and relevance of research and training' providing a platform for skills development for this emerging industry."

In 2020' CQUniversity developed a Hydrogen Economy Capability Statement in consultation with industry and other key players' to better support the needs of this emerging local industry.

"This latest project supports the strategic direction of CQUniversity in its engagement with its regional communities and industries'" Professor Klomp said.

"The hydrogen industry is a high priority for the Gladstone region' and indeed across much of CQUniversity's broad regional footprint. This project supports not only the advancement of the crucial engineering component required by industry' but also the localisation of workforce skills development so communities can gain from the investment and employment opportunities."

Expected outcomes of the research collaboration include a legacy of regional expertise' skills development' innovation' and technology transfer that support the growth of local manufacturing opportunities (based on green hydrogen' the export of hydrogen blends' and the conversions of industrial machinery to hydrogen power as a means to achieve low or zero emission operation).

Minister for Education and Youth the Hon Alan Tudge said he wanted world-class research to be at the forefront of Australia's economic and social success and the Government wants regional universities to be a big part of that.

"By linking universities with local businesses' we increase the opportunity for findings to be translated into practical solutions that could then be commercialised' with benefits for the university' businesses and local jobs'" Minister Tudge said.

"I want to see more world-changing new ideas and revolutionary products developed right in our own backyard in regional Australia."

Minister for Regionalisation' Regional Communications and Regional Education Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie said regional Australia was primed to lead our economic recovery post-COVID.

"Australia's regional and remote centres of excellence are already generating ground-breaking solutions to real world problems. It's essential they're supported to deepen these communities of expertise'" Senator McKenzie said.

"This program is another way the Government is supporting the regions to realise their full potential and create more resilient local economies and communities."

The announcement of this funding will complement related CQUniversity investments in this space including the planned Hydrogen and Renewable Energy Precinct at the university's Gladstone Marina Campus.

Earlier this year CQUniversity also joined the signing of an MoU for a Gladstone H2 Ecosystem with Sumitomo Australia (Sumitomo)' Gladstone Ports Corporation (GPC)' Gladstone Regional Council (GRC) and Australian Gas Networks (AGN) as part of the Australian Gas Infrastructure Group (AGIG).

CQUniversity is also in the final stages of recruiting a Professorial Chair in Hydrogen and Renewable Energies' a position which will have scope to provide critical strategic research leadership to drive the research capacity and capability growth.