Australia Australia

IPHE Country Update: July 2017

Name: James Minto
Contact Information:,+61 2 6275 9320
Covered Period: To July 2017

New Policy Initiatives on Hydrogen and Fuel Cell (Read more)

The Australian Government is committed to a technology-neutral policy and regulatory framework, which supports new energy sources and enables market innovation and uptake of transformative technologies, including hydrogen.

Last year, the Australian Government tasked the independent Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) to develop a Low Emissions Technology Roadmap. Released on 2 June 2017, the Roadmap provides a comprehensive summary of technology pathways for emissions reductions in Australia, along with the economic opportunities associated with them. Hydrogen was noted as a significant opportunity as a transport fuel and for export under two of the four pathways considered, and the CSIRO has expanded its work on hydrogen.

Australia’s Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel released the Final Report into Independent Review into the Future security of the National Electricity Market (NEM) on 9 June 2017. Dr Finkel’s report is intended to be the blueprint for ensuring Australia’s energy system remains affordable, reliable and secure while transitioning to low emission forms of generation. The report briefly explores a number of opportunities for hydrogen in the energy, transport, industry and export sectors.

Australia joined the Global Mission Innovation Initiative in 2015. Along with 22 other participating countries, Australia committed to accelerate research and development of clean energy innovations by doubling public expenditure on clean energy research and development. Mission Innovation countries have established seven Innovation Challenges as priority areas for multilateral collaboration to accelerate technology breakthroughs. Australia is looking to promote hydrogen research and development through one of these challenges, Converting Sunlight, which aims to accelerate the development and production of clean fuels using the sun’s energy.

This focus has been supported by domestic action.

The $800 million Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) provide grants and loans in support of investment and innovation in clean energy technologies. The Australian Government has also established the Clean Energy Innovation Fund, which is jointly managed by ARENA and CEFC. This fund will have $200 million to continue to provide support for early stage and emerging clean energy technologies such as hydrogen R&D.

ARENA finalised its Investment Plan in May 2017. One of the four new priorities identified in the plan focuses on Australia’s renewable export industry. The plan identifies focus areas of innovation and examples of proposals that may be considered for funding, such as:

  • demonstration of renewable production methods for transportable energy storage options (such as hydrogen or ammonia);
  • demonstration of on-site production, storage and power generation using renewable hydrogen; and
  • research and development of hydrogen production technologies that show potential in the lab.

In February 2016, the Australian Government announced proposed reforms to the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989. The focus of the reforms is to reduce regulatory burden and barriers, which would include any regulatory barriers limiting the uptake of energy efficient or alternative energy technologies, such as hydrogen fuel cell or electric vehicles.

At the sub-national level, state governments are also providing support for FCH, for example through trials and support for low emissions vehicles and recharging infrastructure. The South Australian Government is expected to release a Hydrogen Roadmap in mid-2017.

Hydrogen and Fuel Cell R&D Update (Read more)   

The Australian Government supports research, development and commercialisation of new energy technologies including FCH through the Australian Research Council (ARC), the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) and the CSIRO.

The CSIRO conducts research into scientific capability and new technologies relevant to hydrogen. These include research into membrane and separation technologies and solar conversion of natural gas into syngas. The CSIRO recently announced a two-year research project with $3.4 million in funding to explore breakthroughs in separating hydrogen from other gases like ammonia.

Australia participates in the International Energy Agency’s Hydrogen Implementing Agreement (IEA HIA). Curtin University is the Contracting Party for Australia in the HIA. Curtin University, in Western Australia, is undertaking research in hydrogen storage.

Partly funded through the ARC, the Materials Energy Research Laboratory in nanoscale (“MERLin”) is an energy research group at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) focusing on the use of hydrogen for energy and for energy storage at room temperature.

Australia is keen to keep abreast of international developments in the FCH sector. Australia will continue to keep a close watch on developments within IPHE and through our involvement in the International Energy Agency’s Hydrogen Technology Collaboration Programme and Mission Innovation’s Converting Sunlight Challenge. All of these initiatives make a valuable contribution to the sharing of information on hydrogen and fuel cell developments and enhance government, industry and academia collaboration.

Demonstration and Deployments Update (Read more)

ARENA has financially supported the University of South Australia’s ‘New photocathodes for solar hydrogen production’ project, and the company Hydrexia to commercialise its hydrogen storage technology.

The CEFC supports hydrogen energy, such as solar-to-hydrogen fuels. In July 2015, a $50 million asset finance agreement between the CEFC and Firstmac, a leading Australian non-bank lender, has helped accelerate business and personal adoption of low emissions fuel technologies, including hydrogen fuel cell and electric vehicles.>

Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) and its partners have been developing a coal to hydrogen project in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley using Victorian brown coal. The project is one of a number of options that KHI is examining worldwide to meet the Japanese government’s energy diversification plans. The commercial viability of the project is subject to further analysis of the proposal and outcomes from a front-end engineering and design study.

Norwegian company Yara exports ammonia from its production plant in Western Australia and is working towards a trial of a 2.5MW solar array to power its electrolysis process, with the possibility of eventually fuelling its entire operations using the region's abundant sunlight.

Events and Solicitations (Read more)

Australia will hold the 8th International Conference on Hydrogen Production from 29 to 31 July 2017 in Brisbane.

Investments: Government and Collaborative Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Funding (Read more)  

The $800 million Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) provide grants and loans in support of investment and innovation in clean energy technologies. The Australian Government has also established the Clean Energy Innovation Fund, which is jointly managed by ARENA and CEFC. This fund will have $200 million to continue to provide support for early stage and emerging clean energy technologies, including hydrogen. ARENA finalised its Investment Plan in May 2017. One of the new four priorities identified in ARENA’s investment plan includes a focus on Australia’s renewable export industry.

In August 2016, the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Government announced plans for hydrogen energy storage in Canberra. The plan encourages international business to bring $180 million of hydrogen energy storage, including hydrogen-fuelled car fleet and hydrogen from renewables service stations to Canberra.

In December 2016, the South Australian Government and Adelaide City Council jointly announced a feasibility study with hydrogen utility company, H2U, into establishing SA’s first hydrogen refuelling station. This is part of H2U's plans to establish an initial network of 14 stations nationally. The study will look at opportunities for fuel cell powered vehicles in the council's services and the State bus fleets, with hydrogen produced on-site from renewable electricity using electrolysis technology. The SA government is also looking at the potential of supplying renewable hydrogen to other states and internationally.

Regulations, Codes & Standards Update (


Data Table (






Sustainable Transport Energy Project (STEP)
Department of Resources, Energy, and Tourism
Australian Institute of Energy, AIE Hydrogen Division
Tasmanian Hydrogen Stakeholders' Network
Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources

Reports & Publications

National Hydrogen Study
Hydrogen Technology Roadmap (2008)

Member Statements

Member Statements (Read more) - Last updated November 2012

  • Australian Statement (PDF 127KB); 18th Steering Committee Meeting; Seville, Spain; 14 November 2012
  • Australian Statement (PDF 418KB); 14th Steering Committee Meeting; Shanghai, China; 21-22 September 2010
  • Australian Statement (PDF 805KB); ILC Committee Meeting; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; 24-26 April 2007
  • Australian Statement (PDF 80KB); Implementation and Liaison Committee Meeting; Oxford, England; 30 January - 1 February 2007
  • Australian Statement (PDF 326KB); Steering Committee Meeting; Reykjavik, Iceland; 26-27 September 2006
  • Australian Statement; Steering Committee Meeting; Kyoto, Japan; 14-15 September 2005 (No electronic presentation)
  • Australian Statement (PDF 196KB); Steering Committee Meeting; Paris, France; 26-28 January 2005
  • Austrailian Statement (PDF 19KB); Steering Committee Meeting; Bejing, China; 26-28 May 2004
  • Australian Statement (PDF 34KB); ILC Committee Meeting; Reisensburg, Germany; 26 February 2004
  • Ministerial Statement (PDF 74KB); IPHE Inaugural Ministerial Meeting; Washington, DC; 20 Nov 2003


Canada is recognized internationally as a global leader in hydrogen and fuel cell research, development and early stage commercialization.  Canada is a large producer and user of hydrogen and home to a significant concentration of hydrogen fuel cell expertise.  Canada’s industry is diverse and is representative of all elements within the supply chain from hydrogen manufacturing to fuel cell integrators.

Largely consisting of small and medium sized enterprises and research organizations across the country, the sector is supported by a well-educated labour force with advanced skills – key ingredients in building Canada’s knowledge economy.  Canadian companies have established a competitive global position resulting from years of research, development and demonstration activities.  The largest cluster of hydrogen and fuel cell companies in Canada is located in British Columbia.  Other clusters are located in Ontario, Quebec and Alberta.

Canada’s program targets four areas area sustainable hydrogen production, hydrogen storage, fuel cells and safety, codes and standards.  

Hydrogen Production

Hydrogen’s value as an energy carrier stems from the wide base of primary energy sources which can be employed to produce it. These include both renewable sources such as hydro, wind, solar and biomass, and non-renewable sources such as natural gas, coal and nuclear energy.     

Historically, Canada’s main thrust of past investments has been in hydrogen production via water electrolysis with special emphasis on systems for hydrogen production from wind. A considerable amount of R&D was carried out to address hydrogen production from low-value materials such as hydrogen sulphide and from coal or petroleum coke via the steam/iron process (a technology for centralized hydrogen production allowing easier carbon capture).  Smaller program elements included purification and separation. Activities have steered away from technologies which are being developed extensively in other countries and for which there was not a unique Canadian capability.  Recently, and going forward, Canada’s activities have focussed almost exclusively on electrolytic hydrogen production using PEM technology.

Hydrogen Storage

Hydrogen storage is a key enabling technology for the deployment of fuel cell technologies in stationary, portable, and transportation applications.  The challenge for most end-uses is reversible, lower cost hydrogen storage systems with high volumetric and gravimetric hydrogen storage capacities. For transportation, the overarching technical challenge for hydrogen storage is how to store hydrogen on-board to meet performance (weight, volume, kinetics, etc.) safety and cost requirements and enable 300 +mile range, without compromising passenger/cargo space. Durability over the performance lifetime of these systems must also be verified and validated, and acceptable refueling times must be achieved.

Canada’s past investments have been in development of compressed, liquid and solid-state hydrogen storage systems.

Fuel Cells

Canada has been developing fuel cell technologies for transportation, stationary, and portable applications for over 30 years.  For transportation, stationary power generation (e.g., energy systems, back-up power), and portable devices, the focus is on proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells. For larger-scale energy generation, the focus is on the solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC), which can, in some cases, directly use natural gas or other hydrocarbons as fuels. 

Codes, Standards and Safety

The successful global commercialization of hydrogen and fuel cells depends on internationally accepted codes and standards. These will help to increase the experience, knowledge and confidence of local, regional, and national officials in the use of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies, and facilitate the development of regulations. R&D supports the development of performance-based, rather than product-specific, codes and standards. 

International collaboration in this area is essential.  Canada has played a leading role as chair of the ISO Technical Committee 197 (Hydrogen Technologies) and as a strong contributor to the IEA Hydrogen Implementing Agreement Task 19. Task 19 participants have been working to identify the physical properties of hydrogen which impact the issue of safety. 

Canada has also developed the Canadian Hydrogen Installation Code.   Published by the Bureau de normalisation du Québec (BNQ) as a National Standard of Canada, the Canadian Hydrogen Installation Code (CHIC) [CAN/BNQ 1784-000] will help pave the way for a greater use of hydrogen as an energy carrier by guiding safe design and facilitating the approval process of hydrogen installations across Canada.

The following are examples of significant accomplishments that are helping to build Canada’s hydrogen and fuel cell industry. Demonstration projects in Canada and other IPHE partner countries are featured on Canada's Demonstration & Deployment page.

Canadian Fuel Cell Commercialization Roadmap

In 2003, Canada released its first commercialization roadmap. The roadmap was aimed at accelerating full-scale commercialization of Canadian hydrogen and fuel cell technologies to capture benefits from substantial industrial investments in research and development and to develop long-term solutions to meet Canada’s climate change goals. In 2008, Canada updated the Canadian Fuel Cell Commercialization Roadmap. The update begins by outlining why hydrogen and fuel cells are considered an essential part of the future low carbon energy systems for transportation and stationary power as well as an energy innovation in portable electronics. It continues by providing an overview of global hydrogen and fuel cell markets as background and context for the activities of the Canadian industry.

Hydrogen Village

The Hydrogen Village in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) was a public/private partnership demonstrating and deploying various hydrogen production and delivery techniques as well as fuel cells for stationary, transportation (mobile) and portable applications. The program, was funded by Hydrogen Village Members, Natural Resources Canada and the Government of Ontario, was in operation from April 2004 to March 2008.

Vancouver Fuel Cell Vehicle Program

car imagehe Vancouver Fuel Cell Vehicle Program was a collaborative five-year vehicle deployment and evaluation activity involving the Canadian Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association, Ford Motor Company USA, Ford Motor Company of Canada, the Province of British Columbia and the Government of Canada. The program, for the first time, put limited production fuel-cell-powered electric drive vehicles into the hands of selected Canadian users for independent operation and evaluation under real-world conditions. Located in the British Columbia’s Lower Mainland, the vehicle demonstration program began in April 2005 and sunset in March 2010. Vehicle users included Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperation, Ballard Power Systems, BC Hydro, BC Transit, Brown Bros. Ford, Canadian Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association, City of Vancouver, City of Surrey and Powertech Labs.

Hydrogen Highway

The British Columbia Hydrogen Highway (HH) was launched in March 2004 as a large-scale, coordinated demonstration and deployment program for mobile, stationary, portable, and micro hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. Projects under the HH umbrella included: the Integrated Waste Hydrogen Utilization Project located in North Vancouver; BC Transit operated hydrogen fuelling station in Victoria; Powertech Labs station in Surrey; Pacific Spirit Station in Vancouver; and, the Whistler station to support the 20 hydrogen fuel cell buses that were operated by BC Transit during the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games until the end of March, 2014.

The HH received one of the first "Sustainability Stars" recognizing sustainability innovations in economic, social and environmental initiatives awarded by the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympics Winter Games.

Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Gateway

In early 2008, a technology demonstration and exhibit centre showcasing Canada's world-leading hydrogen and fuel cell industry was officially opened. The Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Gateway was located at the National Research Council (NRC) Institute for Fuel Cell Innovation in Vancouver, and was conceived through a public-private partnership between the NRC, Natural Resources Canada, Industry Canada, the Government of British Columbia and the Canadian Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Association. 

2010 Olympics – First Bus Delivered as part of World’s Largest Development of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Buses

The first of 20 buses were delivered and successfully tested as part of the world largest hybrid electric fuel cell bus fleet. The bus was part of BC Transit’s project to demonstrate sustainable transportation technologies for the 2010 Olympics in Whistler, B.C. The twenty new hybrid electric fuel cell buses and two Hydrogen Highway fuelling stations were put into service in 2010 at Whistler, Vancouver and Victoria. The low-floor buses capabilities include of 500 km, a top speed of 90 km/h and a life expectancy of 20 years. They were the sixth generation of a fuel cell buses developed in Canada. Several Canadian companies were involved in this project such as Ballard Power Systems, Dynetek Industries, Hydrogenics Corporation, New Flyer Industries, Questair Technologies, Air Liquide Canada, and Sacre-Davey Engineering.

National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Research Directory

The Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Research Directory is a free public on-line database of information on researchers and facilities in Canada. The purpose of the Research Directory is to increase the visibility, researcher collaboration and use of Canadian research and laboratory services in hydrogen and fuel cell technology.   See:

Establishment of AFCC Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperation Corporation

AFCC Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperation Corporation (AFCC) is a private Vancouver-based automotive fuel cell technology company founded in 2008 and owned 50.1% by Daimler AG and 49.9% by Ford.  AFCC was created to focus on fuel cell research, development and design specifically for automotive applications. AFCC is working closely with Daimler and Ford to advance automotive fuel cell technology.

Establishment of the Mercedes-Benz Fuel Cell Manufacturing Facility

In 2011, Daimler announced that Vancouver, Canada had been selected at the location of choice for the establishment of an automated fuel cell stack (engine) manufacturing facility which was named Mercedes-Benz Fuel Cell (MBFC).   MBFC was opened in June 2012 and it’s mandate is to determine how to manufacture FC stacks, on an industrial scale, at an affordable price.


Demonstration & Deployment (Read more) - Last updated April 2009


Ergon Energy

Currently, the project is being run by Ergon Energy, a Queensland-based electricity distributor. Ergon Energy has identified distributed generation as a way it can maintain quality power supply to its customers in a sustainable manner. Ergon Energy selected hydrogen fuel cell technology to demonstrate the concept of distributor-owned, residentially sized generation for network support.

Located in Cairns Queensland, the trial connects a Plug Power GenCore fuel cell through an inverter to supply electricity directly to the power network. The project is examining technology selection and procurement, regulatory issues for using fuel cells and hydrogen in Queensland, fueling, and connection of the fuel cell to the grid.  Ergon Energy intends to gain experience using fuel cells for grid support and assess the potential role of fuel cells as a future stationary energy option in Australia.


Telstra, an Australian telecommunications company, is trialling a 5kw fuel cell system at its headquarters in Melbourne. The fuel cell is being tested as a potential complementary technology for back up power at remote solar powered sites.

Past Projects

Two demonstration projects, the Perth Ecobus Fuel Cell Bus Trial and the Australian Antarctic Division Hydrogen Demonstration Project at Mawson Base in Antarctica, both finished in 2007.






Total of 2 stationary fuel cells (size to be advised)


None reported


Perth Ecobus Fuel Cell Bus Trial
National Hydrogen Materials Alliance (NHMA)


Australia has developed a Hydrogen Technology Roadmap and a Hydrogen Activity Statement to assess Australia's hydrogen research capabilities and strengths and to identify the actions Australia could take to prepare for the emergence of a hydrogen economy.