Geoscience Australia is Australia’s pre-eminent public sector geoscience organisation. Geoscience Australia is supporting the establishment of the hydrogen industry in Australia by providing economic analysis, online data delivery, and assessing the geological resources that can support development of Australia’s hydrogen industry. Geoscience Australia is currently contributing to the following areas:
Exploring for the Future
Geoscience Australia, through its Exploring for the Future program, is undertaking a continental-scale program to improve our understanding of Australia’s mineral, energy and groundwater potential. It includes a project – Australia’s Future Energy Resources – to evaluate new energy commodities, including hydrogen production, to support Australia’s transition to a low-carbon economy. A key focus for the project is assessing the underground hydrogen storage potential in Australia, including in salt accumulations. The project is also evaluating the utility of geothermal resources for hydrogen production and the resource potential of natural (geologic) hydrogen. The final component considers the economics of clean hydrogen production from different pathways including hydrogen from renewable energy or from fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage. Findings from the project are being used to inform investment and government policy.
AusH2 and online data delivery
Geoscience Australia has developed the Australia’s Hydrogen Opportunities Tool or AusH2 data portal (AusH2.ga.gov.au), which provides open access to datasets and tools to assist governments and industry assess hydrogen potential in Australia. AusH2 provides access to over 7,000 national-scale datasets, including infrastructure layers. Data can be viewed and overlayed with other layers in the portal or can be downloaded and viewed in the user’s own geospatial software.
Hydrogen Economic Fairways Tool
Geoscience Australia, in collaboration with Monash University, released an open-source economic model that maps the economic viability of hydrogen production opportunities across Australia – the Hydrogen Economic Fairways Tool (HEFT). The tool conducts a geospatial-economic analysis of future large-scale hydrogen projects. It assesses the quality of resources required to produce hydrogen, such as wind, solar PV, concentrated solar power, hybrid wind and solar and fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage. Rail and road transportation infrastructure, pipelines to export ports, and access to water (from water recycling and ocean desalination) are included in the analysis. The tool helps investors and policymakers identify regions suitable for hydrogen production in Australia and supports decision making on the location of new infrastructure, such as hydrogen hubs.
Further information on the research at Geoscience Australia can be found at http://www.ga.gov.au/hydrogen
Trusted Environmental and Geological Information Program
In 2021, the Australian Government funded the AUD$14 million Trusted Environmental and Geological Information (TEGI) Program. Over the past year, the TEGI team has developed an integrated, multi-disciplinary program aligned to the low emissions agenda and responsible resource development, supporting streamlined resource and environmental regulation and approval processes. The program has collated trusted baseline data and information for conventional and unconventional energy, hydrogen, carbon storage, minerals, groundwater, surface water and other environmental matters.
One of the program outputs are resource assessments of hydrogen generation potential from renewable energy, groundwater and natural gas coupled with carbon capture and storage (CCS) in stacked basins settings. The program also includes statements of existing knowledge on natural hydrogen of four prospective basins (Adavale Basin, Galilee Basin, Cooper Basin and north Bowen Basin) and underground hydrogen storage potential in the Adavale Basin (within the Boree Salt).
Supplementing high-quality science with the new geological and environmental assessments will enable governments, industry, and communities to make faster, clearer decisions, and deliver better environmental outcomes.
Further information TEGI can be found at https://www.ga.gov.au/about/projects/resources/trusted-environmental-and-geological-information-program
Review date: November 2022