'It's critical': Gladstone on the agenda at hydrogen forum
GLADSTONE was the town on almost everyone's lips at a Queensland Hydrogen Forum this week.
The forum, held on Tuesday, brought together some of the state, nation and world's biggest energy players, including Australia's chief scientist Alan Finkel and the Queensland Government.
Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher said he counted Gladstone mentioned 15 times during speeches throughout the day.
He said the event cemented his belief that Gladstone was in the prime position to lead the way for Queensland's emerging hydrogen industry.
Japanese industrial giant Sumitomo Corporation has already shown interest in developing hydrogen in Gladstone for export to Japan.
In June 2018 it was announced the company was working with the University of Tokyo, the Gladstone Ports Corporation and Northern Oil refinery at Yarwun on a solar-to-hydrogen pilot plant at Northern Oil.
Mr Butcher said the concept was still in the development phase.
"Sumitomo is one of the biggest companies in the world," Mr Butcher said.
"For them to be dipping their toes in the water in Gladstone, with Japan being a critical user of hydrogen in the future, it bodes so well for us."
Odourless and colourless, hydrogen is a zero-emissions gas that can be used for heating and cooking in homes or as a fuel cell to power electric trucks, trains and cars.
But there is a need for new, cheaper technologies to produce green hydrogen at large scale.
Other countries including Norway, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are also racing to develop these technologies.
Mr Butcher said while it could take 5-10 years before the hydrogen industry flourished, it was important the region was identified as a priority area for development now.
"It's critical that we get into this space," he said.
"Ten years ago there was no LNG industry in Australia and we were the city who started it.
"We need to be part of the next big thing and it's hydrogen."
While a facility at Redland has already exported hydrogen overseas, Mr Butcher said that did not reduce Gladstone's chances for hydrogen development.
In March Japanese company JXTG Nippon Oil and Energy Corporation exported green hydrogen produced at the Queensland University of Technology's solar cell facility at the Queensland Government's Redlands Research Facility.