The potential economic and environmental rewards presented by emerging domestic and international hydrogen industries are enormous. But the state and regions such as the Hunter need to move fast to seize those opportunities or they could be lost elsewhere.
"The biggest thing the state government could do is create a demand for hydrogen in the state, be it with local city councils or it could be with a particular industry like steel making or powering a smelter," University of Newcastle Vice Chancellor Alex Zelinsky said.
"What we need is a constant demand for hydrogen internally. Once you get that up and moving then there are opportunities to go chasing the grand prize, which is exports.
"We also have to remember that other states are getting on with it. There are hubs being established; it is a real competition and if the state doesn't get behind this it could be that the opportunity goes elsewhere to Queensland or South Australia."