In a significant development, Australia and Germany signed a bilateral partnership on hydrogen production and trade with the aim to facilitate renewable energy-based hydrogen supply chain between the two countries.
German economy Minister Peter Altmaier along with German Education and Research Minister Anja Karliczek signed a letter of intent to set up a “Germany Australia Hydrogen Accord” with Australian Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor.
The letter states, the bilateral agreement was aimed at enabling “the import of sustainably produced hydrogen in relevant volumes, which is an important factor to reach our tighter climate targets.”
In a statement, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said international collaboration was key to getting new energy technologies like hydrogen to commercial parity.
“Our ambition is to produce the cheapest clean hydrogen in the world, which will transform transport, mining, resources and manufacturing at home and overseas,” said Morrison.
German utility RWE and Uniper along with big energy companies are exploring potential trade routes for hydrogen – a cleaner alternative to fossil fuels, from Australia and other places.
Last year, Germany launched a $10.9 billion (9 billion-euro) hydrogen project, which is aligned with a wider European Union green energy strategies, is based on the assumption that around 80% of its hydrogen requirements will have to be imported in the long term.
Berlin has put out feelers to Canada, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Chile for possible supplies.
Australia is also collaborating with Japan to support initiatives that would help drive their respective economies’ transition to net-zero emissions.
Australia, the biggest per-capita emitter among the world’s richest nations, has yet to match commitments made by the United States, and other countries towards net zero emissions by 2050, or increase its emissions reduction target for 2030.