Could Gladstone get a new industry like with the LNG boom?
Could Gladstone get a new industry like with the LNG boom? GLA060617Photopia

Hydrogen touted as 'new LNG industry' for Gladstone and Australia

COULD hydrogen generation be the next big thing for Gladstone?

Councillor PJ Sobhanian seems to think so after he brought the idea to yesterday's Gladstone Regional Council meeting.

He said generating hydrogen and exporting it to places like Japan was an opportunity for Gladstone.

"If this thing takes off, and there's no reason it can't, we will be having much cleaner and greener energy," Cr Sobhanian said.

"It's doable, it's green policy that works and it creates jobs, it doesn't destroy jobs, that's what's really exciting about it to me."

Cr Sobhanian said research from the CSIRO showed there were easier ways being developed to export hydrogen, which was vital to any future industry.

CSIRO principal research scientist Michael Dolan said although there was no hydrogen industry in Australia now, 20 years ago there was no LNG industry.

Mr Dolan said potentially hydrogen and the research surrounding generation and transportation could make it a whole new industry for Australia.

"People think that in 20 years time or so, the hydrogen export industry for Australia will be as big as LNG is now," he said.

"There's certainly a lot of buzz around it and serious investment in it."

Mr Dolan said hydrogen could be generated in different ways, such as by burning coal or through renewable sources like the sun. It then has to be transported.

Two ways businesses and the CSIRO are looking at doing this is by cooling hydrogen gas to a liquid, like LNG.

However, the temperatures need to be much lower, about -250 degrees, compared to about -160 degrees making it harder and more expensive.

Transporting hydrogen as ammonia is another possibility, Mr Dolan said.

The idea came to Cr Sobhanian when he went to the Developing Northern Australia Conference in June.

Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher said hydrogen was the next thing going "gangbusters" in the world.

"If someone comes forward and they're looking for a place to set up business, I've said many times that Gladstone is open for business," he said.

"They can set up in the State Development Area where we currently are seeing big projects going forward."

The council will now write to Mr Butcher for consideration of possible future hydrogen fuel industry opportunities in the Gladstone region, citing future employment and economic opportunities.

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