Green hydrogen to go local

The mining sector cannot anticipate receiving green hydrogen in convenient vehicles or cylinders to replace diesel.

According to new research, in order to use the alternative fuel, it must be created and consumed on-site, turning miners into chemical plants in an already hazardous industry.

Although there are difficulties, it’s a crucial step in decarbonizing this industry, expert Andrew Wilson told.

The worldwide consultant firm dss+’s paper, “Embracing the Green Hydrogen Revolution in Mining,” adopts a pragmatic perspective.

Building a chemical factory with scale-up renewable energy that generates hydrogen and stores it is a very different business from operating an iron ore or mining company, according to Mr. Wilson.

Together with a push for electrification to reduce the use of fossil fuels, the federal government has set the goal that Australia would be a key player in green, or renewable, hydrogen by 2030.

Green hydrogen has “tremendous potential,” according to Mr. Wilson, as countries become more concerned about carbon emissions in global supply networks.

“Hydrogen has been used in the chemical industry for 100 years. It’s an extremely challenging substance to work with, “added he.

“For the mining industry to truly consider how to produce and store this commodity is a major step.”

Consumers will face increasing pressure on global markets to favor low-emission sources of essential minerals and iron ore and to be able to demonstrate that their supply chains are low emitting and free of modern slavery.

By replacing diesel fuel in haulage trucks, which can account for up to 80% of a mine’s environmental footprint, with green hydrogen in mining operations, greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced.

The dss+ report lists additional advantages such as the elimination of diesel particles and the decrease in ventilation load needs for underground mining.

Fortescue Metals Group is leading the development of green hydrogen generation, while Anglo American intends to switch vehicles across various sites to green hydrogen. BHP is collaborating with top steel producers to examine the use of hydrogen in steelmaking.

The injection of huge amounts of hydrogen, however, may raise the risk of fires, explosions, and arc flashes, which are electrical explosions.

It is advised that operational risk management, asset integrity, and dependability programs be thoroughly reviewed. Effective design, material selection, and engineering controls are key to reducing risk.

While facing stiff competition from significant subsidies in the United States, many are praising Australia’s potential to be a sizable green hydrogen market.

As the globe looks for sustainable goods and resources, a recent Climate Council report singles out Queensland as a trailblazer.

As investors prioritize clean businesses over polluting ones and our trade partners strive to reach net zero emissions as soon as feasible, economist Nicki Hutley believes Queensland is well-positioned to draw in global investment funds.

Gladstone and Townsville are currently conducting tests and investing in the production of renewable hydrogen, which, if scaled up, could not only decarbonize large businesses like aluminum but also provide green ammonia and renewable hydrogen export potential.

Support for industries like non-fossil fuel mining and clean energy will be crucial to safeguarding the economy and employees, according to Ms. Hutley, since continued coal mining and gas extraction threatens attempts to minimize damaging climate change.

But, co-founder of energy investment firm Quinbrook David Scaysbrook cautions that Australia will find it extremely challenging to compete with the US on hydrogen exports to Asia or Europe.

He said: “We should be looking more opportunistically at the supply chain, rather than calling on the federal government to go toe-to-toe with the Biden administration on matching subsidies, which I believe is insane.

Crucial minerals are actually at the root of that, she said.

He continues that we ought to consider developing alternate supply networks for green energy in China.

Conversely, according to union president Trevor Williams, a $2 billion investment by Japan this week to commercialize brown hydrogen derived from Latrobe Valley coal in Victoria is fantastic for local jobs.

The pilot project has shown that it is feasible to produce carbon-neutral hydrogen from Latrobe Valley coal and ship it to Japan, according to him.

According to Mr. Williams, the hydrogen facility may pave the way for the production of other carbon-neutral goods including urea, ammonia, and diesel exhaust fluid Adblue, enhancing Australia’s ability to produce these goods independently.

But despite the fact that it might be more technically difficult, dss+ director Mr. Wilson asserts that green hydrogen is required for mining.

In terms of your carbon footprint decrease, he continued, “you really are deceiving yourself if you’re using blue or grey hydrogen, or whatever hue you pick.

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Businesses that don’t do it correctly risk falling behind their rivals in the long term when it comes to emissions, Mr. Wilson warned.

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