Australia is taking the lead in developing a Certificate of Origin for clean hydrogen and the Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC) Project is contributing to shaping these standards.

The scheme will cover emissions released in the atmosphere as a result of the hydrogen production process. It is likely to be domestic initially, with the ability to meet requirements of a global scheme in the future.   

Reliable emissions tracing is vital to ensure the Australian Government can track progress towards its 2015 Paris Agreement commitments, to limit global temperature increases by reducing national greenhouse gas emissions.

This tracing is also important so major importers of hydrogen can track progress toward their emissions reduction targets. 

General Manager for Hydrogen Engineering Australian, Hirofumi Kawazoe, explained how this is relevant to the potential commercial HESC Project.

“If the HESC Project proceeds to commercialisation, CCS technology will be used to make the hydrogen production process virtually CO2 emission-free,” said Mr Kawazoe.

“A Certificate of Origin would take this into account as it measures the amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere.”

A commercial-scale HESC Project would in fact play a role in reducing CO2 emissions, and in turn contribute to the Australian Government’s progress towards Paris commitments.

“A commercial-scale HESC Project would produce up to 225,000 tonnes of hydrogen per year and if this was used for power generation it could reduce global CO2 emissions by some three million tonnes per year[i] – the equivalent of removing 600,000 cars off the road.”

The certification of hydrogen was a recommendation of the National Hydrogen Strategy prepared by Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel. Another reason a scheme is important is that it will avoid misunderstanding and provide consumers with transparency around the environmental impacts of the hydrogen, providing flexibility of being technology neutral.

The Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources states that ‘a hydrogen certification scheme is a standardised process of tracing and certifying where and how hydrogen is made, and the associated environmental impacts (for example, greenhouse gas emissions).’

HESC Project partners are part of a consultative group helping the department understand the most important high-level aspects of an international and/or domestic hydrogen certification scheme.

The HESC Project Partners identify three important features of hydrogen certification:

  1. A scheme should be technology neutral and inclusive, consider carbon-reduction activities and avoid resorting to terminology centred around different colours of hydrogen.
  2. A certification system, especially methodology for estimation of greenhouse gas emissions, should be transparent in approach and assumptions to build confidence.
  3. An international body would be best placed to promote a guarantee of origin scheme on a global scale.

Australia can play a leading role in shaping an international guarantee of origin scheme built for the global hydrogen market. HESC Project Partners welcome the opportunity to continue contributing to this consultative process.

More detail on the HESC Project Partner’s response to the hydrogen certification survey, which closed 22 June 2020, is available to read here.

[i] as referred to by the Japanese New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organisation (NEDO) in 2015.