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If/When Oct 13, 2020

Hydrogen Hurdles: Breaking Down Commercial Barriers to a Decarbonized Future

Show Contributors: Michelle Freund, Simon Prunster, Henry Swisher, Paul Thies


The broad utilization of hydrogen has potential to play an important role in our drive toward a decarbonized, sustainable future. Jacobs and Yarra Valley Water recently teamed up to deliver a thought leadership paper which asks ‘what if’ the growth of Australia’s hydrogen industry could be supported by co-located hydrogen production at wastewater treatment plants? In this episode, we discuss the unique role that water utilities could play in hydrogen production with Simon Prunster, Energy & Emissions Specialist at Yarra Valley Water; Michelle Freund, Senior Economist at Jacobs; and Henry Swisher, former Energy Markets Consultant at Jacobs.

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Episode notes

Michelle Freund is a is a senior economist in Jacobs’ ANZ Strategic Advisory Group. She started her career at the Department of Treasury and Financial, advising on climate change, environmental services and water management policies. She joined Jacobs (then Sinclair Knight Merz) in 2008 and has since developed expertise in business case development and economic appraisals across a range a range of sectors. Her most recent work has been focussed on the water sector, undertaking options appraisals for policy or investment decisions responding to water security and reliability requirements, water quality risk, flooding risk, and environmental water savings objectives.

Originally from California, Henry Swisher (former Strategic Consultant, Energy Markets - Jacobs) is a Sydney-based strategic consultant with a background in renewable energy finance and policy strategy. He has extensive experience modelling electricity markets to provide investment advice, due diligence, policy impact analysis and has conducted numerous feasibility studies and financial models for a wide variety of energy-related projects. These have included hydrogen, large-scale solar, wind, battery storage, geothermal, bioenergy, gas turbines, and transmission infrastructure. These studies have frequently informed business cases for a broad range of projects and assets. Henry also has experience with hydrogen strategy development and is a co-author of both Jacobs’ hydrogen papers.

Over the past 15 years, Simon Prunster (Energy & Emissions Specialist at Yarra Valley Water) has worked in the Australian energy industry in a diverse range of roles, from consulting for some of Australia’s largest commercial and industrial energy users in energy and carbon markets to developing a niche electricity management / retail service offering to medium sized commercial businesses. In his current role, Simon provides strategic direction and the implementation of renewable energy and emissions reduction policies, programs and projects for Yarra Valley Water (including their award-winning waste-to-energy project ‘ReWaste’) and also the wider Victorian water industry.