The hydrogen transition – do it right, do it once, do it now

We Australians have a curious, oft-used phrase of “fair dinkum” – a phrase which we think originated on the goldfields during our gold rush of the mid-nineteenth century. Depending on the context it is used in, it can mean a lot of things, but loosely translated it means “get real” or “be honest” or “be genuine”. Others might translate it as “stop mucking about”.

It is time for the world to get “fair dinkum” about the energy step-change. It is time for us to get “fair-dinkum” about doing it right, doing it once. In hydrogen we have the energy source to do it now, we have the technology to do it now, we have the expertise, we have the will, and we have the capital. We need to lift our aspirations, our urgency and our investment in hydrogen and just get on with it.

There has been much attention paid to hydrogen in the past 18 months – an extraordinary amount, and rightly so. The penny is starting to drop that for great swathes of industry and other forms of human endeavour that require process heat, the “electrify everything” prescription is just not going to work. Intermittent sustainable energy sources and lithium batteries just cannot keep the wheels of industry turning 24/7/365.

Nevertheless, the energy revolution is not going to happen as quickly as we need it to unless we are honest with ourselves, and there are a few matters we need to get “fair dinkum” about, fast.

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