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ARENA awards $59m to hydrogen projects

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced it has awarded $59.1m in funding across 21 research projects to support research and development (R&D) and commercialisation activities covering renewable hydrogen and low emissions iron and steel.

The funding has been provided to research teams from some of Australia’s top universities, research organisations, start-ups and companies.

ARENA chief executive officer Darren Miller said funding early-stage R&D and pushing innovation was at the core of ARENA’s mission in supporting the global transition to net zero emissions.

“We’re backing Australian technological innovation that helps build our clean industries and underpins our ambitions of becoming a renewable energy superpower,” Miller said.

An initial $25m in funding was provided for each of the two funding rounds – Renewable Hydrogen and Iron & Steel.

Due to the quality of applications, ARENA has increased the total funding amount to $59.1m. Grant funding for each successful applicant ranges between $1.3m and $5m.

Funding for the R&D projects will be provided over two stages, an initial core research stage followed by a research commercialisation stage aimed at scaling up and demonstrating application of research breakthroughs in the market.

“ARENA has a strong track record in funding and supporting early-stage innovation. Through our strategic priorities, we have highlighted the importance of renewable hydrogen and low emissions metals growing to become a significant export industry,” Miller said.

“Innovation starts in the lab, and we have the best minds taking our decarbonisation efforts to the next level – to the benefit of all Australians through jobs, lower emissions and cheaper energy.”

Australia is the world’s largest exporter of iron ore, supplying up to 53 per cent of international exports each year. Decarbonisation through the iron and steel value chain will have a significant impact on global emissions reduction.

The Iron & Steel R&D round aims to support a step change in emissions abatement pathways in the production of iron and steel, and encourage additional research capacity in these sectors, facilitating collaboration between research groups and industry.

The Hydrogen R&D round aims to accelerate the commercialisation of renewable hydrogen through innovation in hydrogen production, storage and distribution technologies.

Renewable hydrogen is also expected to play a large role in reducing emissions in hard-to-abate sectors like iron and steel production.

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