I attended the World Engineering Convention in Melbourne last week to speak on renewable hydrogen initiatives happening across the Pilbara.

The WEC is the Olympics of the engineering world, held only once every 4 years and never before in Australia. It was a huge event with 3000 participants from 70 different countries presenting some 600 papers.

Topics featured included Renewable Energy, Artificial Intelligence, Sustainable Cities, Women in Engineering – in fact all the things mankind needs to develop to make our world a safe, equitable and sustainable place for future generations.

There was quite a lot of talk about renewable hydrogen, which is the most energy-dense fuel that exists and can power vehicles, be stored indefinitely or generate electricity with zero toxic emissions.

Dr Alan Finkel, Australia’s Chief Scientist, spoke about how our nation could produce renewable hydrogen with an energy value equivalent to all our current LNG exports and provide thereby a new export industry with huge possibilities.

In my presentation, I noted that:

The Pilbara region of Western Australia is ideally suited as a site to locate the world’s largest solar hydrogen industry.

Several major companies, who have both the incentive and financial capability to enter a new industry, have shown a keen interest in developing renewable hydrogen technology.

Karratha’s existing port facilities are already capable of delivering renewable ammonia (a hydrogen carrier) and can be readily modified to enable liquid hydrogen export.

The Pilbara’s proximity to and existing trade links with many Asian economies is a major advantage while Japan’s commitment to become a hydrogen society presents us with a remarkable opportunity.

It is in all our interests to ensure this opportunity does not pass us by. We must invest, construct the facilities and continue to refine the technology which will allow us to produce and export clean, renewable hydrogen energy to Australia, Asia and destinations across the planet.