Hydrogen, known as the clean fuel of the future, holds immense potential as a zero-emission energy source.
However, the challenge lies in its expensive long-distance transportation and the lack of established infrastructure. In a groundbreaking development, researchers from Australia, Singapore, and Germany have devised a new supply chain model that paves the way for international hydrogen transport, effectively utilizing its embodied energy. This article delves into the goals, technology, potential impact, and challenges associated with this innovative approach.
Associate Professor Kaveh Khalilpour of the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), who led the report, emphasizes the critical role of supply chain design in achieving economical hydrogen production. The researchers focused on examining the export of renewable hydrogen from Australia to Singapore, Japan, and Germany. Their analysis revealed that the objective of exporting either “hydrogen the atom” or “hydrogen the energy” leads to different supply chain systems. A comprehensive understanding of the entire system becomes essential for informed decision-making.
Hydrogen is expected to play a vital role in diversifying Australia’s renewable energy resources beyond solar and wind power. This diversification is crucial for the country’s energy security and its commitment to climate change mitigation. The abundance of renewable energy resources in Australia, coupled with its stable economy, positions the nation to attract investments in developing green value chains not only in the region but also as far as Europe.
Professor Reinhard Madlener, the co-lead of the project from RWTH Aachen University in Germany, highlights that hydrogen serves as an energy carrier rather than a primary energy source. It acts as a means to transport renewable energy from one location to another. The key question for the emerging hydrogen economy is whether commodities like green hydrogen, methanol, or ammonia can be exported profitably and competitively over long distances and across oceans. This has significant implications for international energy and climate policies.
Professor Iftekhar Karimi from the National University of Singapore, another co-lead of the project, asserts that their model suggests methanol holds great promise as a chemical carrier for exporting renewable energy from Australia at low costs. Methanol could emerge as a cost-effective solution for transporting green energy.
The development of an effective international hydrogen supply chain has the potential to revolutionize the global energy landscape. It could enable the widespread adoption of renewable energy and facilitate the decarbonization of various sectors. However, challenges remain, including the establishment of robust infrastructure, ensuring cost competitiveness, and addressing technical complexities associated with long-distance transport.
The new supply chain model for international hydrogen transport, created through collaborative research efforts, opens up new possibilities for harnessing the power of hydrogen as a clean energy source. With Australia’s renewable energy resources, stable economy, and the potential of methanol as a chemical carrier, the country is well-positioned to lead the way in developing green value chains. As this innovative approach unfolds, it has the potential to shape international energy and climate policies, paving the way for a sustainable future.