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The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has dedicated $50 million in funding for two research and development rounds focused on renewable hydrogen and low emissions iron and steel. 

Funding for successful research and development projects will be provided over two phases, with an initial laboratory-based research phase followed by a commercialisation phase aimed at scaling up and demonstrating research breakthroughs.

Each of the funding rounds will be allocated $25 million, with grant funding for successful applicants expected to range between $500,000 and $5 million. 

The Hydrogen Research and Development Round includes funding for two streams: one focused on improving and optimising the production of renewable hydrogen and hydrogen derivatives such as ammonia, and another investigating storage and distribution solutions.

The low emissions iron and steel round offers funding for research that can significantly reduce emissions across the steel value chain in the near and long term.

Iron and steel accounts for more than seven per cent of global emissions, technological innovation will be vital to the industry achieving net zero emissions. As the world’s largest producer and exporter of iron ore, Australia has a unique opportunity to reduce emissions from iron and steel production.

ARENA Acting CEO, Chris Faris, said the two rounds will build on Australia’s legacy of research and development and help scale up renewable energy and low carbon exports.

“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,” Mr Faris said.

“Renewable hydrogen and low emissions iron and steel will be critical to Australia’s net zero economy. The research and development we’re funding now through these programs will underpin our clean industries of tomorrow.

Mr Faris said ARENA is 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. 

“Iron and steel production represents enormous emissions reduction opportunities for Australia and our trading partners. Globally, these industries make up around seven per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, so the decarbonisation opportunity is huge,” Mr Faris said.

“As global markets increasingly demand low carbon products, we need new solutions to bring us closer to net zero. And we need to get that research out of the lab and into industrial applications. This work is about future proofing our iron and steel industries for a low carbon value chain.”

Expressions of Interest for ARENA’s Hydrogen and Iron & Steel Research & Development Funding Rounds are due on 1 June 2023. For more information visit arena.gov.au/funding.

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