Clean energy vehicles and storage

With the UK ban on new internal combustion engine cars relying on fossil fuels by 2035, electric and hydrogen cars will start to dominate the roads. Technologies are currently of particular interest, but much remains to be done to bring hydrogen to industries and international communities. We share some of the ongoing developments, such as the Victorian Hydrogen Hub in Australia, for a hydrogen accessible and sustainable future.

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To achieve sustainable ambitions, hydrogen will be a key technology helping to decarbonize industries heavily dependent on fossil fuels. It is an important source of clean fuel and a key raw material that provides raw materials for industrial processes.

Australia is a promising place to establish hydrogen and build an economically sustainable domestic hydrogen industry and hydrogen export industry, according to a project by Swinburne and CSIRO. Swinburne’s partner, CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization) supports scientific research for the development of industries in Australia. CSIRO has published a Hydrogen Roadmap that lays the groundwork for hydrogen development in Australia.

Victorian Hydrogen Hub

The Victorian Hydrogen Hub was launched in February 2021 through the Victorian Higher Education State Investment Fund to help advance hydrogen. The project is led by Swinburne University of Technology, in partnership with CSIRO and ARENA 2036 in Germany – an innovative research campus.

The team says he “Will build on existing knowledge and common strengths in digitization and Industry 4.0. Through the Victorian Hydrogen Hub, we will lead the way, advancing research and development in the hydrogen sector, working closely with industry to improve understanding of what hydrogen can deliver. “

The hub will bring together researchers, partners and companies to test and test the latest advanced hydrogen technologies. With the aim of achieving a sustainable future, it will support sustainable manufacturing practices and in particular the storage of clean energy from renewable energies.

The Victorian Hydrogen Hub will be a unique interdisciplinary collaboration aimed at developing a national hydrogen industry in Australia. This will require expertise from various scientific fields, industries, workforce and communities. The aim is to create an environment where questions are asked about who and what will be needed to incorporate hydrogen into the economy. In a think tank style, they will explore business models, obtain community-based research on hydrogen applications, understand regulations and safety requirements, and train the future workforce. Importantly, new technologies, services and products will be explored which can create jobs and boost industries in Australia.

Communicating the utility of hydrogen to society

Dissemination will be an integral part of the project. Along with hydrogen production and storage facilities, the Victorian Hydrogen Hub will be built to house a technology demonstration center and a hydrogen refueling demonstration station. Here it will be possible to illustrate the usefulness of hydrogen by demonstrating the technologies and expanding the understanding of hydrogen as an industrial fuel for industry, business and the community.

Public engagement will be the focus, with staff at Swinburne’s Social Innovation Research Institute and Design Factory Melbourne collectively supporting the adoption of hydrogen as a green energy alternative in society.

Storage integrated into a sustainable system

The storage facilities demonstrated will be vital to the system, as the storage allows the renewable energy to be stored and used later when needed, rather than just when the energy is being generated. This is more efficient, economical and efficient, allowing renewable energies to be harnessed during times of high demand, which may not always be at the exact moment when wind or solar is generating enough energy.

Sufficient storage is a particular problem for those who live in developing countries or in remote areas. To meet this need, the REMOTE organization has created an innovative hybrid storage system based on batteries and green hydrogen to meet the energy needs of isolated communities for renewable energy.

The aim is to design, apply and demonstrate the concept in three remote sites in Europe for a total installed power of 250 kW. This will require collaborations with 14 partners, including industrial suppliers, users, research centers and academic institutions to show how useful and reliable it can be.

Sweeping the carbon footprint of hydrogen

There is also the problem of the carbon footprint created during the production of hydrogen, but there are sustainable solutions. Ideally, the process should decarbonize to become more sustainable. Hydrogen is typically extracted from fossil fuels, but can also come from water, biomass, or a mixture.

Natural gas is the common source of hydrogen production, accounting for about three-quarters of the world’s annual dedicated hydrogen production of about 70 million tonnes, representing about 6% of global natural gas.

Only 0.1% comes from the electrolysis of water, derived from renewable energies such as solar and wind power. It is a sustainable method of producing hydrogen due to its environmentally friendly process. At present, with the cost of renewable electricity coming down, especially from solar and wind, there is currently a growing interest in electrolytic hydrogen.

Bringing hydrogen to the world

From a global perspective, according to the 2019 Future of Hydrogen Technology report by the International Energy Agency (IEA), there is a demand to evolve technologies and reduce costs so that hydrogen can become more widely accessible and commonly used internationally. It includes recommendations made to governments, authorities and industries to help harness the potential of hydrogen, showing that the number of countries with policies supporting investments in hydrogen technology is increasing.

References and Further Reading

Victorian Hydrogen Hub [Online]. Swinburne website. Available at: https://www.swinburne.edu.au/research/platforms-initiatives/victorian-hydrogen-hub/

ARENA 2036 Home page. [Online] Available at: https://www.arena2036.de/en/

Strategy initiatives – Industry 4-0 [Online]. Swinburne website. Available at: https://www.swinburne.edu.au/about/strategy-initiatives/industry-4-0

Design Factory Melbourne [Online]. Swinburne website. Available at: https://www.swinburne.edu.au/research/facilities-equipment/design-factory-melbourne

Social innovation [Online]. Swinburne website. Available at: https://www.swinburne.edu.au/research/institutes/social-innovation/

The future of hydrogen report. [Online] International Energy Agency. Available at: https://www.iea.org/reports/the-future-of-hydrogen

Storage vital for hydrogen to solve renewable energy challenges [Online]. Government in free access. Available at: https://www.openaccessgovernment.org/storage-vital-for-hydrogen-to-solve-renewable-energy-challenges/117942/

Hydrogen roadmap – report [Online]. CSIRO. Available at: https://www.csiro.au/en/work-with-us/services/consultancy-strategic-advice-services/csiro-futures/futures-reports/hydrogen-roadmap

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