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Background

Australia is quickly positioning itself as a major green hydrogen exporter to Asia-Pacific and beyond. A potential that is already globally acknowledged and locally recognized by all levels of Australian Governments (Federal, State and Territory), who are playing a key role in investment attraction, policy advancement, reducing barriers to entry and building bilateral trade relations. Industry too has played a leadership role in guiding the development of this nascent hydrogen economy with several projects underway that are intended to serve emerging hydrogen markets in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond, especially Japan, Korea and Germany, countries who are active exploring opportunities to import Australian hydrogen.


Developing a new industry, however, presents its own sets of challenges and limitations that must be overcome, for such projects to proceed ahead. Consultations with industry in delivering feasibility studies and Roadmapping activities (DFAT funded Australia-Germany Hydrogen Value Chain Feasibility Study-HySupply, NSW Power-to-X industry feasibility study, establishment of NSW Decarbonisation Innovation Hub), led by the UNSW Sydney and ARC Training Centre for The Global Hydrogen Economy has indicated gaps in the standards and regulatory landscape across the hydrogen value chain in Australia. 
To take a deeper dive into these issues, the ARC Training Centre for The Global Hydrogen Economy and its partner Standards Australia carried out a Roadmapping workshop to get a deeper understanding of the gaps and technical safety requirements associated with hydrogen production, application and use in Australia.


A video summarizing the workshop and the key discussion points can be found below:

SUMMARY OF BREAK-OUT DISCUSSION

What Industry is saying on status of hydrogen standards and regulations in Australia?

Pre-polling with workshop participants (81 out of 87) indicated that the current state of hydrogen standards and regulations in Australia is inadequate, with few stakeholders highlighting the need for improved knowledge sharing and activities of current standards and regulations under development. New entrants to the hydrogen economy has expressed their challenges in progressing owing to lack of information. 

Some key findings are summarized as follows:

  • Requirement for centralized/co-ordinated approval pathways between various levels of Government for hydrogen projects: Given the nascent nature of the hydrogen economy in Australia, project developers find lack of coordination between state and local government on standards and approval pathway for hydrogen project development a challenge for project development. Australia has many dispersed hydrogen projects (microhubs and stand-alone projects), which does not encourage standardisation as much as other locations with more concentrated development. 

  • Importance needs to be placed for development of standards across the various hydrogen derivatives: Industry has indicated that much emphasis has been placed for hydrogen standard development for niche market applications such as hydrogen refueling station and that now it is time to look at technical and safety risks associated with large-scale renewable ammonia, methanol, liquid organic hydrogen carrier and liquified hydrogen. For instance, it was noted that AS/NZS 2022 Anhydrous ammonia - Storage and handling was last updated several years ago and is not relevant for proposed ammonia production pathways and technologies.

  • While Standards Australia’s and its committee’s work in this space is well-respected and acknowledged, it is becoming clear that incentives and funding is needed to support the development and updating of standards. The role of standards is undisputed, however the pace at which they are developed and updated is not sustainable given the rapid race to decarbonisation. Stakeholders commented that the Standards process is well managed, but once published, there is lack of support from the Committee post-production in the event there is an issue.

  • Development of pathway to seek expertise from other industries: Lessons from complimentary sectors are encouraged to be explored and standards adapted for hydrogen export. For instance, standards on helium liquefaction is proposed to be adaptable for liquified hydrogen export. 

  • The necessity of centralised Standards and Regulations Platform: Interactive platform is proposed to be developed where all information on standards and regulations can be hosted, alleviating knowledge gaps and at the same time encourage feedback from user group on the interpretation of published standards.
     

NEXT STEPS

Standards and regulations to support the hydrogen industry are still nascent. Standards Australia is working with industry, government and research organisations to develop and adopt nationally harmonised standards that reflect the global hydrogen player that Australia aspires to be. 

To get in touch with Standards Australia regarding hydrogen standards development visit their hydrogen page for more information

For upcoming activities around Standards and Regulation across Hydrogen value chain, please contact:

Emelia Addo-Appiah: emelia.addo-appiah@standards.org.au (Standards Australia);

Dr Rahman Daiyan: r.daiyan@unsw.edu.au (GlobH2E)

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