Response 33345950

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Survey questions

What do you think are the two or three most significant recent developments in hydrogen?
1. The emergence of hydrogen as a fuel for energy. Until very recently hydrogen has not been used for energy really at all. Now people are thinking in this way 2. The beginning of trials to use hydrogen for metallurgy in areas such as steel making 3. The decreasing cost of the currently accepted green hydrogen technology: electrolysis. 4. The global, national and subnational strategies being drafted for the use of hydrogen in energy
What are the most important safety issues to consider in producing, handling and using hydrogen in Australia?
Making sure that hydrogen produced from water doesn't reach an explosive hydrogen-oxygen mixture level Making sure that the technicians, engineers and operators of hydrogen technologies are trained and have the appropriate experience level of supervision. To me the issues of safety are the same as those when dealing with gas or petrol - they are all energy carriers and thus handling them is dangerous, but we all have and operate gas and petrol technology every day.
What environmental and community impacts should we examine?
How to make the transition from coal to hydrogen without too much economic impact to the community. In the metallurgical spaces, the transition should be fairly quick, because hydrogen is proven to work in these areas. In the energy areas: mobility, power, heat, the first two are straightforward, especially now that the companies involved are forging ahead. Industrial heat is an issue, but can be driven by artificial fuels and hydrogen with solar. The big thing will be getting hydrogen around the place (into export chains, into houses, into cars and trucks via refuelling stations). We have sophisticated systems such as LNG ships, pipelines and petrol stations with tankers etc to get gas and petrol around the place, so there will be a significant impact as the transition to these systems with hydrogen occurs.
How can Australia influence and accelerate the development of a global market for hydrogen?
1. Low cost hydrogen production technologies from solar and other renewables. Photocatalysis is already proven and WILL be one of the winners in the end, so we need to develop it fast! Other solar technologies also need to be developed. Australia is the place to do it. 2. Hydrogen carrier technologies. We need to be able to land hydrogen into the Asian market (not onto the dock but hydrogen into the refuelling station). The carrier technology development should be a priority for us 3. Demonstrate hydrogen technology in areas that are already paying high costs for fuels. These include remote mine sites and remote communities. These can be exemplars for hydrogen energy, and with demonstration can come lower costs. With lower costs will come expansion to get to parity with city fuel and electricity pricing.
What are the top two or three factors required for a successful hydrogen export industry?
1. Developing friendly relationships with our trading partners, particularly Japan and South Korea. 2. Low cost hydrogen production technologies from solar and other renewables. Photocatalysis is already proven and WILL be one of the winners in the end, so we need to develop it fast! Other solar technologies also need to be developed. Australia is the place to do it. 3. Hydrogen carrier technologies. We need to be able to land hydrogen into the Asian market (not onto the dock but hydrogen into the refuelling station). The carrier technology development should be a priority for us
What are the top two or three opportunities for the use of clean hydrogen in Australia?
The lowest hanging fruit is of course the injection into the gas main, but I won't dwell on that one. 1. Initially in off grid settings like mine sites. If you get the hydrogen from water then you can use the waste water they have by the bucket loads. This will demonstrate the technology at scale, and it can be used for both power and vehicle fuels 2. Green ammonia for fertiliser production 3. As a replacement for met coal in iron and steel making
What are the main barriers to the use of hydrogen in Australia?
1. Production cost! Everyone knows that hydrogen can do EVERYTHING that coal can do, and much more, but it needs to be out there at $1/kg If it can be produced at this cost (and the only way I see that happening is with photocatalysis and artificial photosynthesis, so the Government should invest $500M right now to accelerate it because electrolysis is not getting down that low for decades...), then things like refuelling stations and vehicle fleet transformation etc etc will follow quickly.
What are some examples where a strategic national approach could lower costs and shorten timelines for developing a clean hydrogen industry?
To get hydrogen to $1/kg, without getting it from gas, the only way I see that happening is with photocatalysis and artificial photosynthesis, so the Government should invest $500M right now to accelerate it because electrolysis is not getting down that low for decades. Electrolysis is a false promise, for all of the reasons that everyone knows, but for some reason no one wants to talk about: 1. There isn't enough power in the system to transform to hydrogen by electrolysis. Around 10x the power is needed, and the whole idea of "free, excess power" to do it is rubbish, and everyone knows it. 2. You need pure water, which is another big cost Photocatalysis needs no power, and with the technologies being developed in Australia with our Japanese friends, we won't even need pure water.
What workforce skills will need to be developed to support a growing clean hydrogen industry?
Think of everything that we have now: diesel mechanics, petrol mechanics, gas power stations, coal power stations, refuelling networks and supply chains, engineers for iron and steel. All of this will be needed, except with hydrogen instead of petrol, diesel, coal and natural gas
What areas in hydrogen research, development and deployment need attention in Australia? Where are the gaps in our knowledge?
One gap in the knowledge is how anyone thinks we are going to get $1/kg hydrogen from electrolysis. Who is saying that we can do that, where do they come from, and where are the independent assessments that this is true? Only photocatalysis can promise to be at that cost in the near future. The Federal Government needs to invest in photocatalysis (as the Japanese have with the ARPChem Consortium), and get on with it!!! At least $200M is needed within the next 2-5 years to accelerate the technology to large scale in the time frame that the IPCC and Paris Agreements say.
Do you have any other comments or submissions to this process?
Picture this. An open pit or underground mine in Australia, Africa or the Middle East ten years from now. All day every day salty water is pumped out to keep it dry because mining is below the groundwater table. Ten years ago (that’s now!), this waste water was a cost and a nuisance to the mine operators because it was hard to dispose of. The mine’s energy needs (40 MWe of electricity for activities such as rock comminution and ventilation, plus fuel to run light vehicles, medium sized machinery and large 200t dump trucks) are supplied by hydrogen, and the hydrogen comes from the waste water that used to be a problematic waste stream. The salty groundwater becomes a feedstock that supplies all the energy needs in the mine, using only sunlight and a non-consumed catalyst. What’s more, the hydrogen is produced using a technology that needs no power or heat and doesn’t even need pure water. This mine becomes the exemplar that sees (over the following 10 years) sea water and photocatalysis hydrogen facilities across the globe helping transform the global energy mix.