MELBOURNE, May 27 (Reuters) - Germany wants to speed up its
green hydrogen work with Australia as the country's effort to
ditch fossil fuels has become more urgent after Russia's
invasion of Ukraine, Germany's research minister said on Friday.
The Ukraine war, which Moscow calls a "special operation",
has highlighted the reliance of Germany and the Europe Union on
Russian fossil fuels and turned energy security into a major
issue for many countries around the world.
"These days, due to the horrible war of aggression from
Russia on Ukraine, the pressure to become independent from
fossil fuels has become more prominent and more urgent,"
Minister for Education and Research Bettina Stark-Watzinger said
in an interview.
Germany and Australia last year signed a deal to create a
renewable energy-based supply chain between the two countries as
part of Berlin's efforts to develop environmentally-friendly
As Germany's green hydrogen demand cannot be met
domestically, it is seeking partnerships overseas to secure
The goal is to reach commercial scale production of green
hydrogen by 2030 if not sooner, initially to feed Germany's
steel industry, Stark-Watzinger told Reuters.
"I think once we get started and the process gets momentum,
it could be earlier than that," said Stark-Watzinger, who is on
a four-day trip across Australia to discuss hydrogen projects
with researchers and companies, including two of Australia's
biggest commodities exporters Woodside Energy Group Ltd
and Fortescue Metals Group.
Germany wants to line up Woodside and Fortescue as suppliers
of green hydrogen, while the two companies are interested in
working with German firms to get electrolysers, she said.
Germany's E.ON in March signed a memorandum of
understanding with Fortescue's green power business to explore
shipping green hydrogen to Europe.
Green hydrogen is made by using electrolysers powered by
renewable energy to split water.
The next step is for consortia of German and Australian
companies to apply by June for funding for demonstration
projects including green hydrogen production, transportation and
Last year, Australia and Germany said they planned to spend
around $90 million to fund hydrogen demonstration projects.
Australia's outgoing conservative government earmarked A$1.2
billion for grants to hydrogen projects. Hydrogen development is
one area of energy policy that both sides of politics in the
country have backed.
Germany, which launched a hydrogen strategy in 2020, is
focused on green rather than blue hydrogen, which is produced
using natural gas with the carbon dioxide released in the
"With the current shortage and price increase of natural
gas, blue hydrogen is out of the question for Germany right
now," Stark-Watzinger said.
(Reporting by Sonali Paul. Editing by Jane Merriman)