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CSIRO partners with Fortescue Metals Group on hydrogen tech

A new $20 million agreement between the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) Brisbane laboratories and Fortescue Metals Group on hydrogen technologies will support development of new industries, create jobs and open up opportunities for low emission exports according to the Australian government scientific research agency.

As part of the agreement CSIRO has confirmed to work with Fortescue to identify, develop and commercialise technologies to support the creation of an Australian hydrogen industry and future global uptake.

This includes commercialisation arrangements for the membrane technology, with a subsequent five-year investment in hydrogen research and development.

Earlier in the year CSIRO made a breakthrough with metal membrane technology, which enables ammonia to be used as a carrier material for hydrogen storage and transport.

CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall said CSIRO had a strong history of collaboration with industry, helping to reinvent it through global disruption and positioning Australia as a leader in inventing new industries like hydrogen.

“Today we’re seeing a market pull from companies like Fortescue to reinvent themselves through deep science-driven innovation and follow the global market shift towards a low-emissions energy future, and in so doing create a whole new export market for our vast clean energy resources,” said Marshall.

“This partnership is great news for Australia, not just through new industry creation and the jobs that will flow from it, but in contributing to a different energy future that is secure, affordable and sustainable,” he said.

An economically sustainable hydrogen industry was not far from becoming a reality according to the National Hydrogen Roadmap, a blueprint for growing the industry released by CSIRO earlier in the year.

Australia was on the cusp of an energy revolution, according to Fortescue Chairman Andrew Forrest AO, who said his company intended to be at the forefront of a once in a generation opportunity. 

“As a proud Australian company, we are excited to partner with CSIRO, our nation’s preeminent science and research body, to unlock the potential of hydrogen, the low emission fuel of the future,” he said

In a statement CSIRO and Fortescue recognised any future hydrogen industry would require a collaborative approach.

Many additional opportunities for partnership were expected to emerge as technologies and markets develop.

CSIRO plans on continuing its own investment in hydrogen R&D through its Hydrogen Energy Systems Future Science Platform.

It will work with Fortescue to commercialise technologies that support the transportation and chemicals sectors.

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