Now, it wants to ramp up production.

Hydrogen made in a CSIRO laboratory has been used to power a car for the first time, with chief executive Larry Marshall today taking a ride in a car powered by the lab-produced fuel.

According to the organisation, the process "will pave the way for bulk hydrogen to be transported in the form of ammonia, using existing infrastructure, and then reconverted back to hydrogen at the point of use".

The process relies on a membrane that separates 'ultra-high purity hydrogen' from ammonia, while blocking any other gases. That should make it easier to transport and store, allowing people to move and keep the fuel as liquid ammonia. That membrane is modular, and could be easily placed at (or close to) a refuelling station.

"This is a watershed moment for energy, and we look forward to applying CSIRO innovation to enable this exciting renewably-sourced fuel and energy storage medium a smoother path to market," said Dr Larry Marshall, CSIRO chief executive.

"I'm delighted to see strong collaboration and the application of CSIRO know-how to what is a key part of the overall energy mix."

Having successfully powered a Toyota Mirai and Hyundai Nexo with the fuel, CSIRO is now keen to up production of its in-house hydrogen.

The CSIRO put $1.7 million into the project, matched by the Science and Industry Endowment Fund.