hydrogen power renewables
Loy Yang coal power station, part of a coal-to-hydrogen pilot project (Image: AAP/JULIAN SMITH)

Prior to May's “climate change election", Australians heard quite a bit about hydrogen. Chief Scientist Alan Finkel argued that the continent, with our immense wind and solar resources, was perfectly placed to develop the fuel as a low-emission replacement for fossil fuel exports. Former opposition leader Bill Shorten even pledged a $1 billion hydrogen plant in Gladstone to help kick-start the industry.

Now, a Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) report finds that the global cost of “green hydrogen” -- fuel cells created from renewables via electrolysis -- could fall by almost 80% by 2030, a global analysis that follows similar predictions this year.

But even if hydrogen follows a similar price trajectory to wind and solar, could it become the next great Australian gold rush? Crikey examines whether hydrogen has a role in decarbonising Australia and the practical future for this very early-stage miracle fuel*.