Some of Australia’s leading energy experts say that renewable hydrogen is beginning to reach cost parity with some fossil fuel equivalents, and can emerge as a high potential export industry for Australia – with tens of billions of dollars – as technology costs continue to tumble. A joint briefing held on Wednesday by experts from CSIRO, the Australian National University, and Monash University explored how Australia is ideally placed to take advantage of growing global demand for low or zero emissions hydrogen fuel, and falling technology costs that is allowing hydrogen to emerge as a cost-competitive and zero emissions fuel alternative. The idea is to use excess renewable energy – or arrays specifically designed and built for the purpose – to produce renewable hydrogen through the splitting of water through electrolysis. Through the use of renewable energy, so-called green hydrogen can be produced with effectively zero greenhouse gas emissions.
Renew Economy 5th June 2019 read more »
Faith Birol: General Motors built its first vehicle powered by hydrogen in 1966. But instead of revolutionising the auto industry, the GM Electrovan ended up in a museum. Half a century later, we’re still waiting for hydrogen to live up to its promise as a clean energy technology. The industry joke is that hydrogen is the fuel of the future – and it always will be. But that could be wrong. The huge challenges of climate change as well as the rise of the wind and solar industries are giving it new momentum, attracting fresh interest from governments and businesses well beyond the auto industry. Most hydrogen produced now is not clean, but the technology to change that already exists. To understand how hydrogen can go from hype to reality it’s important to grasp the situation our energy system faces. Right now, the world is moving away from the goals of the Paris agreement on climate change that aim to reduce carbon emissions quickly. To reverse that trend, renewable energy sources such as wind and solar will have to make up a far greater share of global supply, and fast. But they face difficulties, not least that the amount of electricity they produce can vary depending on the weather or the time of day or year, so it might not be flowing when people need it. Hydrogen is one of the few ways of storing that variable energy. Other options include lithium-ion batteries – which power smartphones and electric cars – but they can’t compete with hydrogen in terms of scale. A big hydrogen storage facility in Texas, for instance, can hold about 1,000 times as much electricity as the world’s largest lithium-ion battery complex, in South Australia. Hydrogen from renewable electricity is two to three times more expensive than that produced from natural gas. But solar and wind costs have plummeted in recent years, and if they continue to fall clean hydrogen will become more affordable. Still, the technology that turns water into hydrogen (without producing carbon emissions) needs to be developed on a much greater scale to cut costs. Governments will be crucial in determining whether hydrogen succeeds or fails. Most of the more than 200 projects under way still rely heavily on direct government funding, according to International Energy Agency analysis. But smart policies should encourage the private sector to secure long-term supplies of clean hydrogen and give investors the incentives to back the best businesses. We also need to kick-start the international hydrogen trade with the first shipping routes. There are encouraging signs: Japan has several important pilot projects to figure out the best way to ship hydrogen over long distances. Meanwhile, the EU has backed an initiative to make hydrogen a significant part of Europe’s efforts to decarbonise its economies.
FT 4th June 2019 read more »