Last week the State Government held a Renewable Hydrogen Conference in Perth, the intention of which was introduce the technology of renewable hydrogen, establish where the science and economics were currently and show the opportunities they create for Western Australia.

There were some 350 people who attended from all over the world including Japan, South Korea and Germany. There was a large CSIRO contingent; several universities; large international companies such as Siemens, Tokyo Gas, Mitsubishi, Panasonic; the oil and gas companies; consultancies and many government departments.

Renewable hydrogen is made by extracting it from water through electrolysis, using renewable – wind or solar – electricity.

The hydrogen is then used to generate electricity from fuel cells.

A hydrogen fuel cell car can drive over 500 km on one 5kg tank. The car exhaust emits only water –and the process of creating and using hydrogen fuel is infinitely renewable and non-polluting.

What’s more, you can refuel the car in a few minutes.

Sounds magic? It is a remarkable technology and Karratha is in the perfect place to benefit from this.

As Chief Scientist, Alan Finkel said at the conference, Australia has the sun and the open spaces necessary for the production of renewable hydrogen.

The City of Karratha is looking to establish itself as the renewable hydrogen capital of Australia – we have the sun and space to make it and the country’s largest gas export facilities on our doorstep. Yara Pilbara is already planning to produce the product here and the City has investigated the best sites for placement of the necessary photovoltaic panels.

The State Government has established a Renewable Hydrogen Council with Minister MacTiernan as Chair to promote the industry, bring the suppliers, consumers, technologists, funders and others together so things work best for all – and hopefully to get the industry going in WA.

The future is coming – and fast!