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Australia to host world hydrogen energy experts.



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Media Release The Hon Ian Macfarlane MP Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources

12 May 2003 03/085

AUSTRALIA TO HOST WORLD HYDROGEN ENERGY EXPERTS

Energy leaders from around the world will gather in Broome, Western Australia, next week for a definitive conference on the world Hydrogen Economy - and Australia’s potential to be a part of it.

From May 18- 21, about 150 delegates from major energy and transport companies, international research associations and key scientific bodies will hear from speakers including:

• Prof T. Nejat Veziroglu, International Association of Hydrogen Energy; • Dr Rene Sachs, French Association of Hydrogen; • Dr Robert Dixon, United States Department of Energy; • Dr Catherine Gregoire Padro, US National Renewable Energy Laboratory; • Dr Andreas Luzzi, International Energy Agency.

Australia’s Chief Scientist, Dr Robin Batterham, will open the three day conference on Monday, May 19th. Scientific author and commentator, Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, will address the conference’s final dinner.

The conference follows the US President’s announcement, in this year’s State of the Union speech, of the American commitment to developing a hydrogen-powered future. The US has also proposed a $1 billion multi-national hydrogen plant prototype - FutureGen.

Hydrogen is a simple element which can be found in materials like natural gas, coal and water. It doesn’t occur naturally as a form of energy but has to be generated by either splitting of water or extraction through steam reforming.

Advanced technologies, like fuel cells, can directly convert hydrogen to electrical power and heat with substantial efficiencies. Examples of these new technologies in various motors will be displayed and demonstrated at the conference.

Federal Industry Minister, Ian Macfarlane, said the Howard Government had co-ordinated this conference as a show of faith that Australia intends to play an active role in the global challenge to effectively, and commercially, develop hydrogen technology.

“This conference is a first step in mapping our part in the development of this sustainable and clean energy form. The Howard Government's hydrogen initiative also includes the national hydrogen study, due for release by the end of this year,” said Mr Macfarlane.

“Australia has to look at ways of maintaining a high degree of energy self-sufficiency. Within the next decade the emphasis will have to move from crude oil to home grown solutions. This

conference is a start to assessing the potential of hydrogen to fill that role,” he said.

Media Contact: Kirsty Boazman, (02) 6277 7580, Mobile: 0412 171 444 Email: kirsty.boazman@industry.gov.au Web site: www.industry.gov.au

CMR 03-100