24 June 2024, Canberra – The Australia-EU Green Hydrogen Dialogue focused on Opportunities beyond Hydrogen: Power-to-X brought together experts and stakeholders from Europe and Australia to delve into the transformative potential of green hydrogen and its derivatives. This hybrid event, held in Sydney and online in the frame of the EU Climate Dialogues (EUCDs) project, illuminated the importance of green hydrogen in producing derivatives that can decarbonise challenging sectors such as maritime and aviation. The discussions revolved around Power-to-X (P2X) technologies and green shipping corridors, which are pivotal for sustainable transportation.

A key focus was the development of green shipping corridors, which are essential for reducing the carbon footprint of maritime transportation. These corridors, powered by renewable methanol and ammonia, represent a significant step towards maritime decarbonisation. The EU has been proactive in this domain, with initiatives like the Fit-for-55 policy package and the FuelEU Maritime initiative. These efforts aim to extend the EU Emissions Trading Scheme to the maritime sector and promote decarbonisation projects. However, realising these green shipping corridors requires extensive collaboration among governments, shipping companies, port authorities, and technology providers. Challenges such as infrastructure upgrades and the harmonisation of international regulations need to be addressed to bring these corridors to life.

The dialogue also emphasised the critical role of P2X technologies in converting green hydrogen into usable derivatives for various sectors, particularly transportation. In Australia, the conversation often focuses on these derivatives rather than direct applications of green hydrogen. To fully harness the benefits of P2X, an enabling framework that includes standards, regulations, certification, policies, and sectoral strategies is crucial. Existing regulations and policies on renewable methanol and ammonia can serve as a foundation for this framework. Incorporating sustainable dimensions—economic, social, governance, and environmental (EESG) factors—is vital. Stakeholders can leverage sustainable finance criteria, voluntary certification schemes, and market and subsidy instruments, such as the European Hydrogen Bank, to ensure a robust P2X economy.

The role of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and green hydrogen in decarbonising the aviation sector was another highlight. SAF, combined with energy efficiency measures, can significantly reduce aviation emissions. Green hydrogen offers potential for short to medium-range flights, either through direct combustion or fuel cells. However, several challenges must be overcome, including safety concerns related to the handling, storage, and transportation of hydrogen. Developing specific regulatory frameworks and safety standards for hydrogen-powered aviation is essential for its practical deployment.

Direct air capture (DAC) technology also emerged as a critical component in the green hydrogen ecosystem. DAC provides sustainable sources of carbon dioxide, which can be combined with green hydrogen to produce synthetic fuels. While DAC technology meets stringent sustainability and certification standards, scalability and cost-effectiveness remain significant challenges. Increased investment and research are necessary to advance DAC technology. Addressing these challenges will enable large-scale deployment and contribute to a sustainable green fuel supply chain.

The dialogue underscored the collaborative efforts needed to advance green hydrogen technologies and their derivatives. Renewable ammonia and methanol will be key in developing green shipping corridors, supported by increasing policy and funding to achieve net-zero emissions. A comprehensive framework for P2X technologies, encompassing standards, regulation, certification, policies, and strategies, is essential to unlock their full potential. Additionally, DAC technologies are crucial for a sustainable green fuel supply chain, requiring more investment and research to enhance scalability and cost-effectiveness.

The dialogue built off earlier sessions on Scaling and Accelerating Green Hydrogen Production, Financing the Green Hydrogen Economy, and  Social Licence, Community Acceptance and Environmental Impacts. The conversation highlighted the importance of these collaborative efforts, offering a roadmap for future advancements in green hydrogen technologies.

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