Australia’s government will put A$300m ($192m) behind projects designed to turbocharge large-scale production or use of hydrogen, which it said has the potential to be the “fuel of the future”.

A new funding scheme aims to accelerate renewable hydrogen projects and others that can turn Australia into a hydrogen hub, either for domestic supply or export.

The government-backed Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) will provide debt or equity capital to help spur large-scale projects, typically in chunks of $10m or more, with an early focus on those advancing under a parallel hydrogen scheme run by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (Arena).

CEFC chief executive Ian Learmouth said: “Renewable hydrogen can enable the deep decarbonisation of notoriously difficult-to-abate sectors, particularly in transport and manufacturing, while accelerating the contribution of renewable energy across the economy.

“Hydrogen is an extremely versatile energy carrier which is gaining significant support worldwide as the fuel of the future.”

Australia is especially interested in accelerating use of green hydrogen in ammonia production, where H2 produced using fossil fuels is already widely used and accounts for some 1% of Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions, according to CEFC.

Australia has emerged as home to some of the world’s most ambitious renewables and green hydrogen projects, with individual states often taking the lead role amid a generally lukewarm embrace of clean energy by the nation’s federal government.

Initiatives underway include plans for the world’s first commercial-scale solid-state-hydrogen energy-storage project, plans to swap green hydrogen for gas in domestic supplies, and several vast initiatives to export green hydrogen to Asia.