In alignment with its General Funding Strategy for the 2022–2025 period, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has dedicated $50 million total to two funding rounds to support R&D for renewable hydrogen and low emissions iron and steel.
Background on ARENA
Since its establishment in 2012 by the Australian federal government, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has been supporting the entire innovation chain for renewable energy, from research to large-scale deployment. The Agency’s aim is to accelerate improvements to the affordability of new technologies and build investor confidence in renewable energy projects both now and into the future. As at May 2023, ARENA has committed to 632 projects and invested $1.96 billion in funds.
ARENA supports the Government’s climate change and energy objectives, which are focused on achieving net zero by 2050 and emissions reductions of 43% by 2030. An example of this is the Powering Australia plan, which outlines the Government’s goal of increasing the share of renewables in the National Electricity Market to 82% by 2030.
ARENA’s General Funding Strategy (GFS) guides how it provides financial assistance under the ARENA Act and any Regulations. ARENA is required to develop a GFS that sets out its principal objectives and priorities. The current GFS for 2022-2025 has strategic priorities to:
- Optimise the transition to renewable electricity
- Commercialise clean hydrogen
- Support the transition to low emissions metals
- Decarbonise land transport
Support for R&D in Renewable Hydrogen and Low Emissions Iron and Steel
As part of the GFS, $50 million total has been allocated for two R&D funding rounds targeting Renewable Hydrogen ($25 million) and Low Emissions Iron and Steel ($25 million). Successful applicants are expected to receive grant funding of between $500,000 and $5 million.
The Hydrogen Research and Development Funding Round includes funding for two streams: one focused on improving and optimising the production of renewable hydrogen and hydrogen derivatives such as ammonia, and another investigating storage and distribution solutions. Funding will be split among the two streams at ARENA’s discretion, based on the volume and merit of proposals received.
The Iron and Steel Research and Development Funding Round offers funding to support innovative R&D that contributes to low emissions iron and steel technologies across the value chain, in the near and long term, and which use Australian iron ore.
Proposals for either of the two Funding Rounds must relate to projects involving the development of technology that has achieved a minimum Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of 2 at the time of applying, and the projects must aim to progress the relevant technology beyond its starting TRL.
Expressions of Interest for ARENA’s Hydrogen Research and Development Funding Round and Iron and Steel Research and Development Funding Round are due 1 June 2023 and invitations to submit a full application will be issued in July 2023.
The two funding rounds detailed above are priorities for this particular funding round of ARENA’s broader Transformative Research Accelerating Commercialisation (TRAC) Program. Grant funding under this program is awarded in accordance with the following equally weighted Merit Criteria:
- Merit Criterion A: Contribution to the Program Outcomes and Round Objectives
- Merit Criterion B: Applicant capability and capacity
- Merit Criterion C: Project design and methodology
- Merit Criterion D: Financial viability and co-funding commitment
For more information about the funding rounds detailed above and other ARENA funding opportunities, visit ARENA’s funding page.
If you’re an innovative Australian business involved in renewable energy R&D and want the best advice to keep moving onward and upward, contact Fullstack Advisory so you can leverage our expertise and knowledge of all the grants, incentives, rebates, and other opportunities available.