New research suggests that bigger and better electrolysers will be key to producing green hydrogen at a lower cost than fossil fuels, and Australia’s abundance of cheap solar means this cross-over point will come ‘sooner rather than later’. The analysis has been detailed in a paper published in in the journal Cell Reports Physical Science, which identifies the potential pathways for a renewable hydrogen to achieve cost competitiveness with fossil fuels, including gas, coal and transport fuels. Researchers from the University of New South Wales modelled a number of technology scenarios to build an understanding of the cost drivers of renewable hydrogen and where there were opportunities to drive down costs.
Renew Economy 1st Oct 2020 read more »
The most frequently proposed ways to heat buildings in a low carbon future are using hydrogen to power hot water boilers or electricity to power heat pumps. There are two low-carbon ways to make hydrogen: These are known as ‘green’ and ‘blue’. This article compares the various options on the basis of energy efficiency, carbon emissions, infrastructure requirements and technology readiness. The heat pump route would generate (270/46) = 6 times more heat per kWh from the same amount of electricity as the Green Hydrogen route. What are the implications of this factor of 6? The country would have to build six times the number of additional wind turbines or solar panels or nuclear power stations to generate the electricity in the Green Hydrogen case than for heat pumps. Consequently, consumers would have to pay 6 times the price for the energy to heat their homes. Alternatively, the government would have to subsidise the cost of hydrogen, which would have a permanently damaging effect on the economy. If heat was provided by Blue Hydrogen boilers, fugitive emissions of CO2 would always be significant- at least 10% of the carbon in the input methane, which would prevent ‘net zero’ emissions targets being reached. This contrasts with the heat pump route which would have decreasing emissions with time, reaching near zero by 2040. The push towards use of Hydrogen for heating is misguided. Burning hydrogen is very inefficient compared with the alternatives. Consequently, hydrogen is wasteful of renewable electricity and/or would substantially increase the amount of natural gas used in the country. The carbon emissions caused by burning Blue or Green Hydrogen are significantly higher than those of heat pumps. It is unlikely that the infrastructure needed for a hydrogen economy could be built by 2040. Hydrogen is a fundamentally poor choice for heating buildings. It should not be on the agenda. A far better strategy is to convert the country’s heating systems to heat pumps. This should be government policy.
Centre for Sustainable Road Freight 28th Sept 2020 read more »