In late 2018 the editorial team for Energy News Bulletin (ENB), led by editor Helen Clark, began a concerted effort to add hydrogen to its mix of content, in recognition of emerging support for and interest in the topic across the upstream energy industry at the time.
How things have evolved since then.
At yesterday's opening day of the Australian Hydrogen Conference in Sydney a who's who of hydrogen in the country, including delegations from every state government, significant federal level reinforcements, and private sector representatives from across the hydrogen supply chain, deliberated over just how far things have developed in recent years, and where they are going from here.
Although difficult to provide a snapshot of opinions and projections, it is fair to say that the effort being committed to hydrogen development, in all senses, has increased significantly in the last three years and continues on a strong upward trajectory.
Yes, there remain many doubts, and doubters, with much still to be proven. Yet, barring a disaster (or miracle, depending on where you stand on the topic), there is a wealth of information that still needs to be digested before the endgame, and even just the midgame, of hydrogen's place in the global energy debate is clear.
Day one of this conference began with a wealth of government speeches and presentations and, understandably, a rosy picture of where all those taxpayer dollars are currently going was more than evident, while the second half of the day saw increasing commercial input and the accompanying scrutiny and more pragmatic forecasts that the private sector tends to have.
The session breaks and end of day drinks featured more colourful takes on how realistic or not the current hydrogen story really is.
For ENB's part, plans to increase coverage of hydrogen continue in earnest and the addition of a dedicated newsletter, a special, annual research report and more news categories involving the hydrogen supply chain are in the works.
As shown in the graph below, our investment in increased hydrogen coverage almost three years ago has been accompanied by steady ENB readership interest in the topic and, as new projects, industry initiatives and R&D continue to roll out there is no doubt there will be a lot more to say and read about hydrogen, both the good and the bad (this dichotomy was no more evident than in the results of ENB's recent Future of Energy survey, shown in the graphic below, where the question on hydrogen's export potential over the medium to long term scored an almost perfect split between naysayers, medium-term advocates and longer-term-only proponents).
Day two of the Australian Hydrogen Conference has a more commercial focus than the institution-heavy line-up of the opener, and many of those at the coalface of hydrogen opportunities and challenges will be outlining their plans for and approaches to viable hydrogen projects and initiatives.
While it remains to be seen how many of these will eventually stack up and start paying back the already hefty government and private sector investments in the area, an increase in discussion, reporting on and visibility of hydrogen-related development will be crucial. As outlined above, ENB will be a key part of such conversations.
Google Analytics, Energy News Bulletin Pageviews for keyword hydrogen, July 2018 to April 2021