Finkel poses a value-added approach for hydrogen sector

·2-min read

Australia should consider using more hydrogen onshore to produce decarbonised products, taking a "use where you make it" approach to exporting energy, a leading voice in science says.

Former Australian chief scientist Alan Finkel has told a conference in Adelaide that there was a range of opportunities where Australia could harness its existing renewable energy resources and its ability to produce carbon cost-effectively.

That could lead to using hydrogen to help fuel iron production, to produce synthetic kerosene for jet fuel and to produce methanol for international shipping.

"The big shift in my thinking of late is to recognise the opportunity to use hydrogen onshore, to produce decarbonised products," Dr Finkel told the Future Energy Exports Cooperative Research Centre's annual gathering.

"The mantra becomes use it where you make it. Effectively, this is a different way to export energy."

Above all else, Dr Finkel said the transition to a cleaner energy system should be seen as an opportunity, not an impost.

"An opportunity for Australia to establish our credentials as not only a low-cost energy exporter but one that produces those exports with the lowest by-product emissions," he said.

"If Australia is smart, we can be part of the revolution."

Also at the conference, Climate Change Authority chief executive Brad Archer called on governments, businesses and communities to work together to meet Australia's greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets and to improve its resilience to the impacts of climate change.

Mr Archer said while the technologies for Australia to meet its 2030 targets existed, the scale and speed of the task demanded greater attention, planning and action.

"We need to ensure we have the necessary supply chains, skilled workforces, timely planning and approvals processes and community support for the actions we need to take," he said.

"Looking beyond 2030 to achieving net zero and even net negative emissions, we need to invest strategically in the technologies that will help in areas where we don't currently have all the answers."