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Global collaboration has been cited as the catalyst to just how rapidly hydrogen emerges as a commercial, social and environmental renewable fuel of the future, an international forum was told in Adelaide, South Australia, today.

Addressing the 8th biennial International Conference on Hydrogen Safety (ICHS 2019), the President of the International Association for Hydrogen Safety, (HySafe) Mr Stuart Hawksworth, said that for hydrogen to be the successful energy solution that it can be, it needed to be seen as safe.

“In just the past two years, the pace at which new hydrogen technologies and hydrogen fuel applications have emerged is indicative of just how important this fuel source can be for the future, including increasing reliance on renewable energy sources,” Mr Hawksworth said.

“Clearly, it is also a fuel with enormous clean energy export potential as counties all over the world seek to increase renewables in their total energy mix.

“However, we need to prove up our social licence around hydrogen’s safety and all the issues around that.

“It is essential that the lessons learned from safety incidents are shared collaboratively and on an open international stage.

“It is by further prioritising and improving our communications as a new era global energy industry that we can build on the growing government, private sector and public support for establishing hydrogen as the low cost, low impact renewable fuel source of the future.”

It is the first time the high-powered global conference is being held in Australia and the Southern Hemisphere.

The three-day conference, being hosted by the South Australian Government in partnership with HySafe, has previously been held in Italy, Spain, France, the US, Belgium, Japan and Germany and has brought to the Adelaide Convention Centre this week, hundreds of delegates from 22 countries.

Today’s opening plenary session was headlined by an address by Dr Alan Finkel, the Chief Scientist of Australia.

Mr Hawksworth said the industry had an obligation going forward, to ensure hydrogen proved itself as a viable fuel alternative.

“It has so many wide-ranging applications, and in a country like Australia, offers such game-changing scenarios as potentially replacing diesel as the baseload fuel on remote mining sites. It is also being eyed for its future use in fueling defence and space breakthroughs – two sectors close to Australia and South Australia’s technological and industrial heart.

“But delivering on that potential means gaining trust, acceptance and confidence in hydrogen’s safety and multi-use applications at domestic and commercial levels. There can be no quicker route to achieving that and its associated regulatory protocols, than very open and transparent collaboration and communication at an international level by all of the sector’s stakeholders.

“It is a critical time for hydrogen as its potential to decarbonise an expanding range of applications in transport, energy and industry is realised. This in turn has resulted in a clear shift in the size and range of projects planned and now underway."

Tuesday 24 September 2019