Global hydrogen focus is gaining traction

Published at Jul 29, 2019, in Features

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A new report released by The Future Fuels CRC (FFCRC) shows the worldwide focus and drive towards a hydrogen future.

The report is the culmination of the work of 19 separate hydrogen roadmaps from around the world.

FFCRC Chief Executive Officer, David Norman, said the aim of the report, authored by a team at the University of Adelaide, was to help understand how nations, regions and industries are thinking about the opportunities and potential for hydrogen.

“This resource aims at helping develop other hydrogen roadmaps and strategies, including Australia’s National Hydrogen Strategy,” Mr Norman said.

“There is considerable international interest in rapidly deploying hydrogen technologies in coming decades to reduce carbon emissions.”

Energy Networks Australia, the Australian Pipelines & Gas Association (APGA) and FFCRC are working with Chief Scientist Alan Finkel, who is leading the development of the National Hydrogen Strategy.

Energy Networks Australia CEO, Andrew Dillon, said most jurisdictions identified injection of hydrogen into gas networks as a key way to decarbonise their energy system.

“Australia’s gas networks are already testing the blending of hydrogen into existing distribution networks as a way to provide clean, efficient energy to heat homes and cook food,” Mr Dillon said.

“As has also been outlined by roadmaps overseas, establishing a domestic hydrogen industry will allow for the development and acceleration of Australia’s hydrogen export industry.”

APGA Chief Executive Officer, Steve Davies, said work like this is essential to unlock the true potential of hydrogen.

“The pace and manner in which the FFCRC has been established and already delivering results is a great start of this partnership between gas infrastructure industries and academia. Future fuels like hydrogen have so much to offer Australia and the research programs of the FFCRC are essential for us to achieve their full potential,” Mr Davies said.

Emissions-free hydrogen gas can be produced from excess renewable energy via electrolysis and stored for later use in the existing network of gas distribution pipes.

Today’s report follows the seminal work of Energy Networks Australia’s Gas Vision 2050, launched in 2017.

The case for gas

Australia’s gas vision is consistent with other nations around the world as they seek out cleaner energy sources.

Gas is a major part of the equation.

Finfeed readers will know we have extensively covered the China gas crisis.

As Meagan Evans wrote last week, “Air pollution in China is a critical issue. Thankfully, it isn’t one that’s being ignored with the country taking steps to reduce its particulate and carbon dioxide emissions and its reliance on coal. At the same time, China’s rising reliance on crude oil imports is worrying too, as geopolitical tensions heat up in the Gulf and the South China Sea.

“In response, the country has turned to gas. Specifically LNG imports, as domestic and regional gas producers can’t keep up with the rising demand.”

Natural gas provides 44% of household energy, but produces only 13% of household greenhouse gas emissions. Meanwhile, almost 70% of homes use mains or bottled gas with numbers rapidly increasing.

Modern gas power generation produces half the emissions of high-efficient coal plants and half the gas used in Australia contributes $196 billion to the economy employing 949,000 Australians.

Along with hydrogen, gas will play a key role in future energy discussions.

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