Our Triple-Bottom-Line Research

Even though the potential benefits of hydrogen energy technologies are immense, a new industry in Australia brings with it new environmental (e.g. emissions), social (e.g. acceptance, adoption) and technical challenges (e.g. safety, logistics, networks). Our work is developing the science that can guide as to how to responsibly meet these challenges.


Modelling work undertaken in the Pathfinding stage of the FSP suggested that local and regional air quality effects from an increased reliance on hydrogen are likely to be important, especially in the context of ammonia as a carrier. That work also showed that there is considerable uncertainty regarding the global effects of an increase in utilisation of hydrogen, ammonia, and other carriers (along with a decrease in consumption of fossil fuels).

We need to understand these effects in order to anticipate problems (and also to support the many good news stories that hydrogen offers). In order to do that, we are seeking to understand and describe the atmospheric chemistry pathways that will be important to our ability to model and predict outcomes. We are also developing the modelling frameworks that will use this chemistry more broadly.

More information: Paul.Feron@csiro.au

Social Science to Understand the Social Licence

Our Pathfinder process utilised social science to identify how Australians could respond to hydrogen energy technologies. While the technologies have a history of being well received internationally, in Australia, the public is less familiar with the technologies and perceptions are still being formed. Additional social science will be needed to ensure that CSIRO and the emerging hydrogen industries have the tools to understand early public perceptions and their potential to change, including communities expectations about developments, and the decisions that lead to adoption. Understanding the public’s perceptions will become particularly important as the FSP grows to consider a range of technologies and applications, including carbon-based carriers.

Some more insights from this work, and a link to our Pathfinder report, can be found HERE. This report documents the key issues likely to characterise the public’s response to the introduction of hydrogen energy in Australia, based on a review of existing literature and a series of interviews with industry and government stakeholders.

More information: Simone.Carr-Cornish@csiro.au


A strong technoeconomic framework that can be used to guide future R&D investment decisions, and to help focus ongoing project development, will be a valuable tool—not just for the FSP, but for the wider hydrogen community in CSIRO and Australia. There is value in linking this work with the ongoing R&D outcomes of the FSP and other hydrogen initiatives, as well as including in the scope considerations of grid impacts of various hydrogen generation technologies.

We are developing flowsheets and energy flow models to better understand the economic impact and emissions reduction potential of a range of hydrogen energy systems, and a tool that can be used to support decision making across the TRL spectrum in support of targeted, high-impact RD&D.

More information: Nawshad.Haque@csiro.au

Underground Hydrogen Storage

Storing hydrogen underground in artificially-created salt caverns is on the cards for countries that have the right geology. While the potential for salt cavern storage in Australia is not huge, CSIRO’s expertise at characterising the subsurface for CO2 storage is world class. Some of our early pathfinder work showed that for Australia’s geology, underground storage of hydrogen is largely analogous to the storage of natural gas and CO2–but our modelling tools require adapting with some new physics and chemistry in order for them to be applicable. This work will develop the required simulation capabilities to support the development of a methodology for assessing potential hydrogen storage sites.

More information: Jonathan.Ennis-King@csiro.au