The Morrison government has quietly poured more than $285 million into new carbon capture and storage projects – in a bid to expand Australia’s fossil fuel industries – under the guise of creating new ‘clean hydrogen’ hubs.

During the first two weeks of the election campaign, prime minister Scott Morrison and energy minister Angus Taylor have traversed the country to announce plans for four ‘clean hydrogen hubs’, committing more than $280 million for proposed developments in Townsville, Darwin, the Pilbara and Kwinana.

Morrison and Taylor have pitched the hydrogen hubs as part of Australia’s shift to becoming a ‘clean energy powerhouse’.

However, this funding has been quietly paired with major new funding commitments for carbon capture and storage projects, highlighting that these ‘clean hydrogen hubs’ are likely to be using fossil fuels as a feedstock, rather than tapping into Australia’s ample supplies of zero emissions wind and solar.

The Morrison government has preferred the term ‘clean hydrogen’ as it allows it to include fossil fuel projects paired with carbon capture projects, rather than focusing on renewable hydrogen, which relies on sources like wind and solar.

Adding up the Morrison government’s carbon capture and storage funding totals to more than $285 million, suggesting that the ‘clean energy hydrogen hubs’ announcements have, in fact, been a trojan horse for an expansion of Australia’s fossil fuel industries.