ARENA opens $50m funding round to boost hydrogen, steel research

Image credit: ARENA's Twitter

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is investing $50 million for two funding rounds targeting research and development (R&D) for renewable hydrogen and low-emissions iron and steel.

Successful R&D projects will get funding over the course of two phases, the first of which will focus on laboratory-based research and the second of which will focus on scaling up and showing research results.

Each investment round will get $25 million, and grants for chosen candidates are anticipated to range from $500,000 to $5 million.

Two funding streams are included in the Hydrogen Research and Development Round – one that focuses on enhancing and optimising the production of renewable hydrogen and hydrogen derivatives like ammonia, and another that looks at storage and distribution options.

The low-emission Iron and Steel Round provides funding for studies that, over the short- and long terms, can considerably cut emissions throughout the steel value chain, according to ARENA.

The two rounds, according to ARENA Acting CEO Chris Faris, would draw on Australia’s history of research and development and aid in scaling up exports of low-carbon energy sources and renewable energy.

“Australia has a proud history at the forefront of technological innovation to support our industrial base. ARENA is backing our local research sector with $50 million over two funding rounds,” Faris said.

For Australia to achieve net zero economic growth, Faris emphasised that renewable hydrogen and low emissions iron and steel will be essential.

The clean industries of the future will be supported by the research and development we are currently sponsoring through these programs, he added.

“We’re already seeing renewable hydrogen scaling up, but there’s still more to be done to improve efficiency, while storing and transporting the fuel at scale are looming challenges,” the CEO noted.

For Australia and its trading partners, the manufacturing of iron and steel offers significant prospects for emissions reduction. 

These businesses contribute over seven per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, thus there is a tremendous chance to reduce carbon emissions.

Expressions of Interest for ARENA’s Hydrogen and Iron & Steel Research & Development Funding Rounds are due 1 June 2023.

For more information visit ARENA’s funding page.