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Complaint to Ad Standards – Positive Energy

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The ‘positive energy’ campaign website includes a reference to ‘clean hydrogen’.

 https://www.positiveenergy.gov.au/clean-hydrogen

Clean hydrogen is not a recognised form of hydrogen. According to the CSIRO, hydrogen is categorised by the use of colours. ‘Clean’ hydrogen has no scientific basis or meaning. https://blog.csiro.au/green-blue-brown-hydrogen-explained/

The campaign gives the impression that the hydrogen being promoted is good for the environment and zero emissions ie: ‘clean’. The dictionary defines clean as ‘pure’ and ‘free from unwanted matter’. However, the only form of hydrogen that has zero emissions is green hydrogen. This is the only hydrogen that could be considered as clean.

The hydrogen investments being promoted by the government in this campaign are not all clean or green. While some are ‘cleaner’ (lower emissions) than some other forms of energy, they are not all ‘clean’.

For example, La Trobe Valley hydrogen hub that is being funded as part of the campaign uses coal to create hydrogen and has the same greenhouse gas emissions as coal power. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-03-12/hydrogen-from-coal-production-begins-la-trobe-valley/13241482

In the reporting of this campaign, PV magazine pointed out that ‘clean hydrogen’ is the term that the government has made up and “uses to lump fossil fuel hydrogen with carbon capture and storage in with legitimately renewable green hydrogen”

The Environmental Claims Code states that claims cannot be ‘overstated’ and that ‘the extent of environmental benefit, are presented in a manner that can be clearly understood by the consumer.’

The use of the word ‘clean’ to describe the hydrogen being promoted in this campaign overstates its environmental benefits and obscures the real types of hydrogen being used (green, blue and grey) so they are not clear to the consumer.

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