Renewable Roundup: Hydrogen fuel cells verses batteries in Australia
Despite the political hooraw about renewables in Australia, the people and the private sector are charging [sic] ahead. One can argue about batteries or fuel cells for vehicles of various sorts, or one can treat them as complementary technologies, with different strengths for different applications. (As also for Renewable Natural Gas [sic] from landfills and such.) We also get carbon-free ammonia production, and can use hydrogen as energy storage for load balancing and time shifting.
Austrom Hydrogen, a newcomer to the Australian renewable energy scene, has unveiled plans to develop a large solar project, battery storage system, and hydrogen generation facility in Queensland. The project, Pacific Solar Hydrogen, will join the growing group of gigawatt-scale green hydrogen project announcements across Australia. While this marks an important milestone, the next, even bigger step is to secure finance and offtake deals.
The company said that the Pacific Solar Hydrogen project is ideally positioned, with close proximity to the existing power grid and the Port of Gladstone, which is becoming Queensland’s green hydrogen mecca. The traditional coal and gas hub of Gladstone has been selected to host two major projects – a gigawatt-scale green hydrogen and ammonia development and a gas injection facility to blend renewable hydrogen into its natural gas network. These projects could make it the first entire city in the nation to be on a blend of natural gas and hydrogen.
Like the rest of the world, the main use of hydrogen in Australia is as a raw material for industrial processes. … Researchers at the CSIRO have produced a National Hydrogen Roadmap for the development of a hydrogen industry in Australia, and the nation’s energy ministers are developing a National Hydrogen Strategy.
A high-powered new company has based itself on the NSW south coast with the twin-turbo intentions of driving hydrogen adoption in heavy vehicles and the passenger market, while putting the wheels back on Australia’s decimated automobile-manufacturing industry.
Based in New South Wales, H2X Australia is focused on supporting the growth of renewable energy usage in Australia by initially offering products concentrating on vehicle fleets around renewable energy hubs.
The company offers a balance between hydrogen energy and kinetic and externally charged electricity using an advanced hybrid system which can determine the most efficient approach for any given journey.
With a focus on efficiency of the design of the body and chassis and renewable materials inside and out, the goal of H2X is not only to bring to market clean power technologies but also to make vehicles the most efficient, cost-effective and sustainable right from the outset.
The electric vehicle craze has only just begun, with cars such as the Tesla Model 3 and Porsche Taycan making waves in an industry that still relies heavily on gas powertrains. But let us not forget about the other clean energy source in the room: hydrogen. Numerous carmakers are still toying with the substance as a form of propulsion, with BMW planning on building more hydrogen-powered cars, and the likes of the Toyota Mirai still happily chugging along.
Startup H2X Australia is relative newcomers to the hydrogen and EV industry, but with a team including Brendan Norman, who has experience working as an executive for BMW and VW in Australia and Asia, the future looks bright for the company.
Apr 28, 2020 — The Australian Renewable Energy Agency says that on-site solar electrolysis is not just the most cost-effective way of developing a domestic and export hydrogen economy, but perhaps the only way.
The Australian Hydrogen Council are a collection of vehicle manufacturers, energy companies and infrastructure providers.
We connect the emerging hydrogen industry and its stakeholders in building a secure, clean and resilient energy future based on hydrogen.
The objectives of the Australian Hydrogen Council are to:
- Accelerate the commercialisation of new hydrogen and fuel cell technologies for transportation, export, storage and stationary applications in Australia.
- Provide a forum for effective communication and collaboration of all stakeholders in the hydrogen and energy community.
- Progress Australia’s shift towards a future hydrogen society built upon clean and renewable energy technologies.
We meet these objectives by:
- Collaborating and working across sectoral and geographic boundaries to share knowledge and establish partnerships.
- Publishing trustworthy and current information about hydrogen and its applications for a range of audiences.
- Working with governments and stakeholders to develop best practice policy and regulations.
May 3, 2020 – The Australian government on Monday set aside A$300 million ($191 million) to jumpstart hydrogen projects with the help of low-cost financing
May 7, 2020 — BP Plc has won Australian government backing for a feasibility study into producing hydrogen using wind and solar power to split water and …
The hooraw continues.
May 14, 2020 — Since the Covid-19 crisis began, Australia’s Morrison government has shown itself willing to cast off many of its long-held ideological positions, on everything from budget deficits to stimulus spending and minimum welfare payment levels.
But the government appears determined to hold onto its energy policy and the Australian Liberal Party’s obsession with maintaining Australia’s links with fossil fuels.
On May 4, the Morrison government launched its AU$300 million (US$193 million) Advancing Hydrogen Fund with a view to expediting the development of Australia’s hydrogen industry.
This had the potential to be a fantastic development. The Covid-19 crisis presents an enormous opportunity to reshape Australian energy policy. The massive COVID-19 stimulus package can be used to turbocharge renewables investments and could thereby manufacture the country’s energy, economic and environmental security.
The potential economic, environmental and geostrategic benefits of developing ‘green hydrogen’ from renewables are well established, and are outlined in the government’s own 2019 National Hydrogen Strategy.
Worryingly however, the government has made it clear that public funds should be used to support not just hydrogen from renewables, but hydrogen from fossil fuels as well — including coal and gas. In the government’s view, as long as fossil-fuelled hydrogen is produced using carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, it should be considered ‘clean’.
There is no such thing as CCS. It is just an excuse to keep burning coal. The only “application” for the captured CO2 is pumping it down oil wells to increase production. But regardless of the government’s wishes, hydrogen from renewable energy is the future for Australia.
May 4, 2020 — Australia’s government will put A$300m ($192m) behind projects designed to turbocharge large-scale production or use of hydrogen, which it said has the potential to be the “fuel of the future”.
A new funding scheme aims to accelerate renewable hydrogen projects and others that can turn Australia into a hydrogen hub, either for domestic supply or export.
The government-backed Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) will provide debt or equity capital to help spur large-scale projects, typically in chunks of $10m or more, with an early focus on those advancing under a parallel hydrogen scheme run by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (Arena).
CEFC chief executive Ian Learmouth said: “Renewable hydrogen can enable the deep decarbonisation of notoriously difficult-to-abate sectors, particularly in transport and manufacturing, while accelerating the contribution of renewable energy across the economy.
- September 2019-Australia and the Republic of Korea signed a Letter of Intent to develop a Hydrogen Action Plan.
- January 2020-Australia and Japan signed the Joint Statement on Cooperation on Hydrogen and Fuel Cells
- March 2020-Australia and Singapore agreed to pursue a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on low emissions technologies by the end of 2020.
- April 2020-Australia became a member of the US Center for Hydrogen Safety.
A global consortium of technology providers, transport and infrastructure experts has joined forces to show the Australian public the feasibility and utility of hydrogen fuel cells to cleanly power public transport.
A major consortium led by UK-based ITM Power, which claims the world’s largest electrolyser facility, with 1GW per annum manufacturing capacity in Sheffield, England, has signed a memorandum of understanding to test and demonstrate the viability of hydrogen fuel-cell electric buses in Australia’s public transport networks.
Dubbed the H2OzBus Project, it intends to initially deploy 100 hydrogen fuel-cell electric buses across up to 10 city hubs in Australia where interest and demand for fuel-cell buses has already been expressed.
Transport New South Wales, for example, is one state jurisdiction looking to transition its entire bus fleet to zero-emissions electric power in coming years and has invited expressions of interest from technology providers.
Ballard Power Systems President and CEO, Randy MacEwen said from Vancouver that the project will “provide bus operators with an alternative electric bus option with no compromise on performance and operation.”
He added that, “Use cases requiring extended range, air conditioning and rapid refuelling are an ideal fit for our fuel-cell systems, which have been proven through more than 30 million kilometres of on-road experience to date.”
In other words, battery electric buses for short routes within cities, and hydrogen fuel cells for longer routes between cities.
Although the consortium’s long-term strategy is to provide hydrogen from renewable power sources, BOC already produces hydrogen in Australia via brown (coal) and blue (steam methane reforming) pathways, and these are likely to be the source of hydrogen to kickstart the H2OzBus proof-of-concept project.