How Australia Is Looking to Develop a Hydrogen Economy



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Australia’s hydrogen test channel opened this month involving a larger strategy to use gas as a storage medium for renewable energy.

The channel, established by energy supplier Evoenergy along with the Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) at a CIT facility in Fyshwick, a retail and light business suburb on Canberra’s outskirts, was made to check the usage of hydrogen at existing gas infrastructure. 

The evaluation results will be used to inform future execution of hydrogen in the Australian Capital Territory and the rest of the nation, CIT said in a press launch

“As this new energy supply is defined to replace gas, our apprentice plumbers will be trained in the hydrogen is going to be distributed and attached to houses,” it said.

Australia’s lawmakers increasingly view hydrogen as a substitute for national natural gas. And, possibly, the source of a significant export market. 

In November 2017the Hydrogen Council, a global coalition, issued a report claiming hydrogen could cover 18% of earth ’s ultimate energy demand by 2050, generating a $2.5 trillion sector and 30 million projects. Australia wants a bit of the action. 

The export capacity is driving most of the fascination with renewable hydrogen growth in Australia. 

In Augustthe Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) published a study by ACIL Allen Consulting that estimated hydrogen exports might provide 2,800 projects and add AUD $1.7 billion (USD $1.2 billion) annually to the market by 2030.

The research found Japan, China, the Republic of Korea and Singapore as important prospective markets for Australian hydrogen from 2025. Japan, in particular, is currently being heralded as a possible customer for renewable hydrogen produced in Australia. 

Dr. Daniel Roberts, leader of the hydrogen energy technologies future science stage at the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), said the market chance for Australia was “large and growing. ”

Japan is aiming to receive 40 percent of all its energy from hydrogen by 2050, ” he said. This could amount to almost 38 million tons a year. “That’s a whole lot of hydrogen,” said Roberts. 

Exports will also be important because domestic uptake of hydrogen-based programs such as fuel-cell car transport is still in its infancy, said Roberts. “Australia lags other nations in the uptake of innovative transport solutions and we are lagging from the installation of the necessary infrastructure, for example hydrogen refueling stations,” he said. 

“These variables, along with current need in countries such as Korea and Japan, make lots of folks consider the export chance as the primary inspector. ”

The trick is going to be to find the hydrogen from Australia to those other Asia Pacific markets at a cheap way. To do this, Australia has to master generating hydrogen from renewable power and then storing and transferring it around on a massive scale. 

In August, CSIRO maintained a breakthrough about the transportation front. The study body unveiled a membrane technology which divides ultra-high purity hydrogen from ammonia, while blocking the rest of the gases.

“This technology can pave the way for mass hydrogen to be hauled in the form of ammonia, with existing infrastructure, and then reconverted back to hydrogen at the point of usage,” said CSIRO at a press launch .

Elsewhere, Kawasaki Heavy Industries is working with the Commonwealth and Victoria authorities on a project to commercialize liquid hydrogen generated from gasifying brown coal.

Kawasaki Heavy Industries is undertaking that the AUD $500 million (USD $359 million) job having an eye on global hydrogen markets. 

Nevertheless, it “confronts environmental issues posed by the carbon emissions released when burning coal to create hydrogen,” the Financial Times reported.

Another project, being produced by Northern Oil with support from the Queensland government, could use solar energy to power an electrolyzer for green hydrogen production at Yarwun, on Australia’s northeast shore. 

The website, close to Queensland’s biggest cargo port, could make it effortless for the hydrogen to be shipped to Japan on specially made tankers, ARENA said. 

Separately, at July ARENA declared AUD $1.5 million (USD $1.1 million) for a green hydrogen production hub at Jandakot, Western Australia. In addition, the gas company ATCO will trial the generation, storage and application of renewable hydrogen at a commercial-scale microgrid. 

Green hydrogen will be produced from on-site solar with electrolysis, fueling a selection of appliances after being blended to a natural gas pipeline, ARENA said.

Claire Johnson, chief executive officer at Hydrogen Mobility Australia, an industry group, said Australia’s hydrogen industry had attained “a critical juncture,” transitioning from research and development, pilot projects and presentations to “construction scale. ”

Scaling up hydrogen production would help bring down prices, ” she said. When the business accomplishes this, it might be well placed to export the gas to Asia. 

“Australia has trusted, long-term trading connections with nations who have declared their commitment to a hydrogen society, such as Japan,” ” she said. “We have a solid foundation to move to this new energy space. ”

While exporting hydrogen is the primary focus of much of the market development up to now, insiders also consider Australia could eventually develop a substantial domestic industry. 

Johnson stated the national hydrogen industry was focused on two areas: transportation and natural gas grid . “Both have tremendous potential to support Australia’s decarbonization, energy security and grid stability efforts,” she said. 

Australia’s business players and government bodies see export and domestic hydrogen niches as complementary,” said Johnson. “This two-pronged pathway is very important from a capacity perspective,” ” she said. 

“Australia needs to develop local skills today to support an export industry later on. A national focus will assist us. ”

Underlying the hurry to come up with the export and domestic hydrogen sectors is a question over what Australia can usefully do with all the surplus energy production which can come from a developing level of intermittent renewable generation sources.

Australia has near-perfect requirements for solar energy and its own wide-open spaces offer tons of possibility for building out PV and wind crops. 

In June, ARENA said there had been AUD $10 billion (USD $7 billion) of investment in large scale renewable generation in 2017, accompanied by 1.1 gigawatts of new rooftop solar.

Renewable energy penetration needed struck 45 percent in South Australia and also 16 percent in Victoria, ARENA said. Queensland is on course to achieve a goal of 50 per cent renewables by 2030.

This expansion in irregular renewables is forcing Australian power companies to find ways of handling imbalances between demand and generation.  

Australian usefulness AGL, by way of example, is putting together a virtual power plant depending on the planet ’s largest aggregation of household solar and behind-the-meter batteries.

Front of meter, however, Australia not only has the planet ’s largest battery platform, but with more large-scale technologies in the pipeline, but can also be planning up to around 363 gigawatts of new pumped hydro storage

This storage can help Australia make better utilization of renewable production but won’t allow a low-carbon version of the nation to replace the revenues it receives from imitating coal and liquefied natural gas (LNG). 

Neither will hydrogen, to start with: that the export revenues forecast for 2030 in the ARENA/ACIL Allen Consulting report have been just around 1 percent of that which Australia got from resource and vitality exports in 2014

It’s a beginning, though, and Australia’s industrial issues are excited about the prospects. Martin Hablutzel, head of strategy for Siemens in Australia, said he expected hydrogen to play with “a significant function ” at the energy systems of the future. 

“With renewable renewable energy being generated, hydrogen is an perfect bridge between that electric energy and other applications, such as transportation, decarbonizing gasoline networks for business and households, and also for re-electrification,” he said. 

Although hydrogen isn’t simple to take care of, it may be turned into more caustic chemicals such as methanol, ammonia or synthetic methane utilizing mainstream industrial processes, ” he noted. 

“I think its importance will increase very quickly as large demonstration projects come on line, similar to the way grid-scale solar and wind developed from small and niche applications,” he said. 

The expectation is that one day Australia is going to be able to replicate with hydrogen exactly what it has attained with LNG. As stated by the energy markets industry cable S&P Global Platts, Australia is set to become the planet ’s biggest exporter of LNG from 2020, overtaking Qatar. 

Why not try the same trick with hydrogen? “Our standing as a power export superpower places us well as a trustworthy supplier,” said Hablutzel. “Admittedly, there is a race with different nations. But Australia is certainly well positioned to play a significant part. ”


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