In 1972, the idea of a "hydrogen economy" was first propositioned by a professor at Flinders University in South Australia.
The only problem was the idea occurred at a time when energy systems were highly carbonised and the energy required - from fossil fuels - to produce hydrogen made it unviable and counter-productive to its clean ideals.
It needed a future where renewable energy was abundant and cheap, and when economies recognised the imminent need to decarbonise.
That time has now arrived.
Since the start of 2018, renewable energy costs have plunged globally - including wind costs falling a further 10 per cent, flowing into the surging viability of dispatchable energy systems like pumped hydro.
At the same time, both state and Commonwealth governments have identified the possibilities of hydrogen as a significant new Australian export industry, fueling Japan and South Korea's demand for a clean hydrogen economy.
Hydrogen production works by taking a water source and, through electrolysis using excess renewable energy, separating the hydrogen from the oxygen to create a portable energy source with similar uses to LNG. But instead of generating carbon for the atmosphere, hydrogen burns as water vapour.
South Australia has taken the lead in research and development, and has hydrogen demonstration projects in the pipeline. Gladstone in Queensland has been identified as the potential hub for an Australian renewables-based hydrogen industry.
But with the Battery of the Nation and Project Marinus in development, Tasmania cannot be discounted as playing its part - the state just needs to ensure it is not left behind.
Northern Tasmania Development Corporation chairperson John Pitt said Bell Bay was ideally placed for a 'green' hydrogen production facility, drawing on the deep sea port, the area's industrial history, access to potable water and Tasmania's excess renewable energy.
"We first became aware of the opportunity in hydrogen 18 months ago, and since then we've worked to really make the case for early stage government investment," he said.
"The Commonwealth has been aware of the potential in hydrogen for a couple of decades.
"What's changed is the world market is developing at a much faster rate, so the demand for export hydrogen is now establishing itself, and over the next 10 years it could become very large, and eventually as large as our natural gas LNG exports."
Current technology allows for one kilogram of hydrogen to be produced from nine litres of water, and a 50,000 tonne per annum facility - suggested by the NTDC for Bell Bay - would draw on the same amount of water used by a town of 6500 people.
Adequate and available renewable energy sources to carry out electrolysis at Bell Bay were also not an issue.
Labor promised $250,000 funding for a business case in northern Tasmania - identified as one of three main clean hydrogen production areas in Australia.
Energy spokesperson Pat Conroy said the study could be completed by the end of this year, but Bell Bay appeared to tick all the boxes.
"You've got access to pumped hydro through the Battery of the Nation, you've got access to great water resources as well, and you've got a deep water port where you could export the hydrogen to the rest of the world," he said.
A Council of Australian Governments report from 2018 discussed the recognised potential of hydrogen as an export industry.
It found global demand for hydrogen for energy was just one million tonnes at the moment - but "conservative" estimates forecast this to grow to eight million tonnes by 2030, and 35 million tonnes by 2040.
"Australia could feasibly be exporting about 137,000 tonnes of hydrogen a year by 2025, about 500,000 tonnes by 2030, and about 1.4 million tonnes by 2040," the report reads.
"Japan, South Korea and China are the likely key markets."
Australia already provides 20 per cent of South Korea's LNG imports and almost half of Japan's, but hydrogen is over 40 per cent more efficient.
A key user is transportation - and a study by Stanford University found "niche applications" of hydrogen were already cost competitive.
Nikola Motor Company in the United States plans to have a hydrogen-powered semi-trailer commercially available in 2020 with the capacity to travel up to 1900 kilometres on a single tank of hydrogen.
The ACT Government is importing a fleet of 20 hydrogen-fuelled cars to go with a 1.25 megawatt hydrogen electrolyser.
The COAG report found the Tasmanian Government had "a close interest in emerging energy technologies".
Mr Pitt said hydrogen would fit into these plans.
"They've got a group inside one of their departments who are looking at the potential in a parallel and collaborative approach with the Battery of the Nation, and Project Marinus," he said.