Highlights in 2018
Highlights in 2018


Mission Innovation impact case study

Australia led the establishment of the Renewable and Clean Hydrogen Innovation Challenge (IC8), in partnership with the European Commission and Germany, to address the need for further technology improvements to enable hydrogen to be cost-competitive in the energy system.

The Challenge is supporting this objective by getting like-minded countries to work together to identify and overcome key technology barriers to the production, distribution, storage and use of hydrogen at scale.

It provided a forum to connect a diverse range of hydrogen stakeholders including the International Partnership for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells in the Economy (IPHE), the Hydrogen Council, the World Economic Forum and the International Energy Agency Technology Collaboration Programmes. It renewed a global conversation about the hydrogen supply chain, and has been a catalyst for subsequent hydrogen related activity in the International Energy Agency, G20 and Clean Energy Ministerial.

The Challenge has 17 members who teleconference regularly. It has hosted workshops involving industry, government, academics and partners in Berlin (October 2018) and Antwerp (March 2019).

IC8 members have reached broad agreement on the value and main elements of an information sharing platform for hydrogen demonstration. The objective of the platform is to consolidate the learnings of the first emerging integrated hydrogen projects (hydrogen valleys) in order to accelerate the shift towards large-scale multi-application hydrogen projects. The European Commission is in the process of engaging a provider to build the platform for delivery in September 2019.

The Challenge has agreed on a set of focus areas for research and development (R&D) collaborations and expects to hold its first technical workshop on hydrogen in the gas grid in September 2019.

Update on clean energy innovation policies and strategies

  • The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Energy Council established a Working Group, led by Australia’s Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel, to deliver a National Hydrogen Strategy by the end of 2019. The strategy will examine hydrogen exports; hydrogen for transport; hydrogen in the gas network; hydrogen for industrial users; hydrogen to support electricity systems; and cross-cutting issues that affect all sectors, such as safety, R&D and innovation, and environmental impacts.
  • The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation’s (CSIRO) Hydrogen Roadmap published in August 2018 provides a blueprint for the development of a hydrogen industry in Australia. The Roadmap identified priorities for policy and regulatory development, commercial investment, research development and deployment, and social acceptance.
  • The Australian Government has developed the Trajectory for Low Energy Buildings, a national plan that sets a trajectory towards zero energy (and carbon) ready buildings for Australia. The plan considers opportunities for new buildings and measures to transition existing buildings.

Major innovation initiatives in 2018/19

  • In August 2018, the Australian Government, through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), provided AUD$22 million to 16 research and development projects to propel innovation in exporting renewable hydrogen to the world. The projects include the development of a wide range of hydrogen-related technologies including concentrating solar thermal, electrolysis, biotechnology, carrier synthesis, thermochemical processes, fuel cell development and energy generation.
  • The Australian Government invested over AUD$26 million in the Future Fuels Cooperative Research Centre to undertake research and development to transition energy infrastructure to a low-carbon economy using future fuels such as hydrogen and biogas. The Research Centre will adapt existing infrastructure for the production, transport and storage of sustainable future fuels.
  • The Australian Government invested AUD$50 million in the Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC) pilot project, a collaboration with a Japanese consortium led by Kawasaki Heavy Industries and the Japanese Government. The four-year pilot project will demonstrate the feasibility of a hydrogen supply chain from Australia to Japan.
  • The Australian Government approved Snowy 2.0, an expansion of Australia’s existing pumped-hydro energy storage project, as part of its plan to support new renewable energy for Australia’s future energy mix. Snowy 2.0 will increase generation capacity and provide large-scale storage capability.

Major activities in support of the Innovation Challenges in 2018/19

  • Australia is the interim Operating Agent (being confirmed) of a new international collaboration in the Affordable Heating and Cooling Innovation Challenge (IC7) priority area of ‘Predictive Maintenance and Control Optimization’. In April 2019, a planning workshop was held in Delft, Netherlands, attended by 27 delegates from 10 countries.
  • A consortium of over 30 Australian industry, government and academic partners are collaborating on a project to support engagement in IC7 activities. The project involves:
    • Establishment of Living Laboratories for validating emerging Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) products and services
    • Establishment of a new Integrated Design Studios process for building design innovation
    • Development of an Open Data Platform for driving innovation and commercialisation of HVAC-as-a-Service applications.
  • Australia and the UK are leading work on the Storage Integration work stream under the Smart Grids Innovation Challenge (IC1) and co-organised an MI member workshop on energy storage safety in February 2019.
  • Australia successfully attracted the International Conference on Integration of Renewable and Distributed Energy Resources to Australia for 2020. This will be used to showcase MI deliverables.
  • The CSIRO’s Renewable Energy Integration Facility was accepted as part of the International Energy Agency Smart Grid International Research Facility Network, an international smart grid laboratory collaboration initiative.

Other Mission Innovation related activity in 2018/19

  • The Australian Government has committed AUD$25 million to support the development of the Future Battery Industries Cooperative Research Centre. The Centre will address industry-identified gaps in the battery industries value chain, in collaboration with 58 industry, academic and government partners.
  • Australia has developed the ‘Best Practice Guide: Battery Storage Equipment – Electrical Safety Requirements’, with input from industry, consumers, electrical safety regulators and Australia’s scientific research organisation, the CSIRO. The document provides robust standards and guidelines for safe installation of battery systems.

New collaborations

Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain pilot project
Australia, Japan
The project aims to demonstrate the feasibility of a hydrogen supply chain from Australia to Japan.
Sectors: public-public, public-private
Type of collaboration: demonstration
Start date: 2017
End date:
Funding amount: 
AUD$ 50 million