Hydrogen is abundant in our world and when converted to hydrogen energy, it has the potential to power it too.
Hydrogen is the most abundant chemical in our world, it can be processed into energy using methods such as electrolysis and steam reformation.
Green Hydrogen is clean, flexible, storable, and safe.
Hydrogen energy is a vector, it has a wide-range of practical uses, including as a:
- for heating;
- for storing energy; and as a
- chemical and raw material for use in industrial processes.
Some of the many benefits of hydrogen
By adding hydrogen to the economy, we can:
- increase prosperity and create sustainable jobs - many of these in regional areas;
- contribute to a cleaner environment*;
- help in Australia’s energy transition, and reducing the cost of energy;
- enhance Australia's fuel security.
*Green hydrogen production. Hydrogen produces no carbon dioxide emissions when used as a fuel.
Examples of application
Hyrdogen has a number of applications in our resources, manufacturing and farming sectors including:
- Natural Gas
- Renewable Sources
- Fuel Cells
- Energy Storage
- Petroleum Recovery & Refining
- Methanol Production
- Ammonia Production
- Metal Production & Fabrication
- Food Processing
Hydrogen has a role to play in a larger ecosystem as you can see from the hydrogen at scale in the US example below.
Currently relatively expensive to produce, hydrogen costs are reducing rapidly and with further policy and investment there is a great deal of optimism for a hydrogen economy.
The core of a hydrogen economy is the transformation of the world’s transportation system from one based on oil to one based on sustainable hydrogen.
The economics of a hydrogen economy (BloombergBNEF - Hydrogen Economy Outlook, March 2020)
Hydrogen is not an energy source in itself - it's actually a carrier.
It is produced or extracted through a variety of methods including:
- gasification; and
- steam methane reforming.
Production pathways for hydrogen
Types of Hydrogen
Hydrogen has different classifcations based on its emissions profile.
Green hydrogen is the cleanest, as it relies on renewable energy in its production processes.
Blue, grey and brown hydrogen uses fossil fuels during production.
Click on the images below to learn more about the different types of hydrogen.
One of the challenges to adoption of hydrogen, is storage of the element post-production.
Hydrogen can be stored in three ways:
- As a compressed gas in high-pressure tanks.
- As a liquid in dewars or tanks (stored at -253°C).
- As a solid by either absorbing or reacting with metals or chemical compounds or storing in an alternative chemical form.
Hydrogen can stored - both above and below ground.
Hydrogen can be transported by liquefying it and transporting it by road, rail , pipeline or shipping vessel. Hydrogen can also be transported by converting it to a carrier element such as ammonia or synthetic natural gas (SNG).
The most common hydrogen transportation means are:
- Compressed gas cylinders or Cryogenic liquid tankers;
- Pipelines; or
- Blending with natural gas or ammonia.
There are a number of ways that hydrogen can be used, including in:
- storage for electricity production;
- heat in manufacturing;
- chemical feedstock; and
- fuel cells in transportation.
"Decades of experience and continuing progress in technologies have shown that hydrogen power is reliable and secure. From ammonia production to petrochemical refineries to metals processing to chemical, food, and glass manufacture, the safety record of hydrogen in this country is exemplary. I am confident that this record can be maintained as we seek to open new frontiers and expand our energy horizons." - Dr Alan Finkel, Australia's Chief Scientist - 24 Sep 2019.
Hydrogen Certification - currently in progress
A hydrogen certification scheme is currently being considered. This scheme certification will be a standardised process of tracing and certifying where and how hydrogen is made. One of the goals of the scheme is to provide consumers with transparency around the environmental impacts of the hydrogen consumption including greenhouse gas emissions.
So how does Hydrogen really compare?
What would it cost to run a city on hydrogen?
Check out the KPMG H2City Report and Tool, developed for ARENA in association withe the CSIRO at https://arena.gov.au/knowledge-bank/hydrogen-communities/
The tool allows you to estimate the costs of converting aspects of a community’s energy needs to hydrogen. Outputs are based on data provided by the CSIRO.