What about hydrogen power?

Nov. 25, 2019
Australia takes steps toward leading hydrogen production and export

A mechanic by trade, my boyfriend has been telling me for years that hydrogen power is the energy source for the future. As he spouted these theories, I’ve kept on the lookout for news of this alternative energy source, but haven’t found much. Until recently.

Alan Finkel, Australia’s chief scientist, recently published an article on TheConversation.com titled “145 years after Jules Verne dreamed up a hydrogen future, it has arrived.”

In the article, Finkel details how and why Australia has invested during the past 11 months in developing a National Hydrogen Strategy. A draft of the strategy, including 57 strategic actions, was unanimously adopted on Friday, Nov. 22, at a meeting of the nation’s energy ministers, Finkel reports.

“The strategy for the next decade creates the foundation for Australia to capture the hydrogen opportunity and become a leading player in a growing global market,” Finkel says in the article.

As for the how, Finkel explains that the list of 57 strategic actions will “remove market barriers, build supply and demand, and make us cost-competitive globally.”

Development is broken into two phases: Phase One through 2025, and Phase Two through 2030. Phase One is already underway, and includes conducting pilot projects, trials and demonstrations in order to develop business models and efficient supply chains; developing global markets for hydrogen power; and building and training the needed workforce.

Phase Two includes scaling up the supply chain and activating the market by expanding projects to support export, increasing domestic demand, and building the infrastructure for hydrogen power.

“Achieving such measures by 2030 would indicate we’ve successfully built an Australian hydrogen industry and set us up for the decades to follow,” Finkel says in the article.

Now for the why. “Just 1kg of hydrogen is enough to travel up to 100km in a Hyundai Nexo SUV, or power a 1,400-watt electric split-cycle air conditioner for 14.5 hours,” Finkel explains. “About 1 tonne of hydrogen is equivalent to 3.4 times the average annual consumption of an Australian house with gas heating.”

He notes that Australia is also strategically placed to be a leader in the sector, with the natural resources to support production, experience building energy industries, and “a proven partner to Asia’s biggest energy importers.”

I’ll be curious to see if hydrogen catches on and my boyfriend was right the whole time. I’ll never admit he’s right very often, but I’d give him this win.

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