Hydrogen: Fueling A Clean Energy Future
Liam Turner, 2022 Fulbright Future Scholar, Funded by the Kinghorn Foundation | Monash University/Washington State University
Amongst rolling hills of gold, Pullman is a town of cultivation and growth – not only of wheat and canola, but also for every adventurer who calls this town home.
Visiting Washington State University in Pullman through the full crop lifecycle of seeding through harvest and regeneration was a fitting metaphor for my own growth through the Fulbright program. Seeing a fresh perspective of the world seeded me a new mindset and provided me the opportunities to cultivate my clean hydrogen energy vision for the world. Living in Eastern Washington State gave me a greater connection to our beautiful and irreplaceable natural environment.
Being surrounded by the untouched Rocky Mountains to the east, snake river to the south and wheat fields all around reminded me of the purpose of my work in energy sustainability – to preserve natural environments like these. This perspective has given me a fresh appreciation for the privileged natural environments of Australia. Growing up within a 10 minute walk of some of the worlds most pristine beaches and living around the swan river is something I’ve taken far too much for granted.
Coming back to Australia, I am invigorated to take action to assist preservation of these natural environments through local community outreach and through my continued research in energy sustainability. Australia has a significant untapped potential to become a renewable energy powerhouse for the world through clean liquid hydrogen. Yet when starting my PhD in 2021, there was no liquid hydrogen expertise in Australia.
The overarching goal of my Fulbright exchange and return adventure was to instill hydrogen in the collective consciousness of Australians through training and experimental best practices, so that we can collaborate with U.S. experts for global clean hydrogen energy adoption. I conducted a range of initiatives throughout my Fulbright year, ranging from new research collaborations to helping industry de-risk hydrogen energy through to synergizing hydrogen policy between the U.S. and Australia.
As a hydrogen researcher and as an Australian emissary through Fulbright, I had numerous opportunities to engage in bilateral knowledge exchange, including presenting the findings of my Fulbright research to an international audience at the Cryogenic Engineers conference 2023; representing Australia at the Global Clean Energy Action Forum and the Department of Energy Hydrogen Program Annual Merit Review and providing insights from the events to colleagues at CSIRO.
Additionally, I worked with researchers across Monash University and CSIRO to prepare grant proposals for landmark liquid hydrogen research infrastructure, and established a collaborative research project between fellow graduate students at WSU and Monash University to explore the potential of clean hydrogen energy in Antarctica. This project sees graduate students at WSU mentor Monash undergrads on the opportunity of hydrogen and features connection to Australian Antarctic Division researchers.
I’ve also hosted introductory meetings between like-minded graduate students in Washington State and across Australian universities to explore cross country knowledge sharing and collaboration. I had several engagements with the hydrogen policy team in the Department of Climate Change, Energy, Environment and Water (DCCEEW) where I shared insights on hydrogen skills training in the U.S. and how Australia could align our own hydrogen personnel training. I also submitted a report to the DCCEEW on the industry response to the Inflation reduction Act policy in the U.S. This report highlighted opportunities for Australia to synergize with the U.S. in the hydrogen energy supply chain. Finally, I’ve been able to provide consultation to my research industry partner, Woodside Energy to help de-risk hydrogen energy projects through sharing best hydrogen design and safety practices I learned in the U.S.
Arriving back to Australia has seen me expand upon my U.S. initiatives as part of my Australia hydrogen knowledge sharing campaign. Over the next year I intend to visit and engage numerous universities and industry organizations across the country to share insights on best hydrogen practices and methods from the U.S.
My intent is to incorporate best hydrogen practices into the collective consciousness of Australia, so that we may realize clean hydrogen energy safely, and raise new professionals that can engage U.S. hydrogen experts in future collaborations. I have already commenced this hydrogen knowledge sharing campaign in Perth where I gave presentations to the University of Western Australia, Curtin University, Woodside Energy and the hydrogen Society of Australia on collaboration opportunities with U.S. hydrogen researchers. I intend to continue this campaign with Australia’s other states over the next year to grow a self sustaining liquid hydrogen research ecosystem in Australia.
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