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Green Hydrogen for Under $1.50/Kilogram?

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In Australia, that is less than the cost of a liter of petrol! Hysata has developed an ultra-high efficiency electrolyzer, which they believe is a milestone on the road to green hydrogen for under AUD$2.00 a kg (US$1.50/kg). That is a far cry from 1969, when in a high school science lab I ran an electric current through water and collected one gas that made the taper glow brighter (oxygen) and another that exploded with a soft “pop” (hydrogen).

Green hydrogen uses water as a feedstock and renewable energy for production. There are no fossil fuel inputs. Otherwise, it is not green hydrogen. It is expected that this green hydrogen can replace fossil fuels currently powering the steel, heavy haulage, and fertilizer industries, creating a multi-trillion-dollar industry and helping to decarbonize the world economy. Many pundits have been predicting a breakthrough.

Hysata has confirmed that its “capillary-fed electrolysis cell” can produce green hydrogen from water at 98% cell energy efficiency. This is well above the International Renewable Energy Agency’s (IRENA) 2050 target, and significantly better than existing electrolyser technologies, enabling a hydrogen production cost well below AUD$2/kg. This unique process of water electrolysis has the potential to reduce CAPEX and OPEX compared to conventional water electrolysers, making renewable hydrogen more cost-competitive with fossil fuels.

Hysata is commercializing the technology, which was invented by scientists at the University of Wollongong, New South Wales. Funding is being provided by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC). Paul Barrett, CEO of Hysata, said the company was expecting to reach gigawatt-scale hydrogen production capacity by 2025.

At sub-MW scale, state-of-the-art commercial water electrolysers typically require ~53 kWh of electricity to produce 1 kg of hydrogen, which contains 39.4 kWh of energy, according to its higher heating value (HHV).

“Our electrolyser will deliver the world’s lowest hydrogen cost, save hydrogen producers billions of dollars in electricity costs, and enable green hydrogen to outcompete fossil fuel-derived hydrogen.

“Our technology will enable hydrogen production of below US$1.50/kg per kilogram by the mid-2020s, meeting Australian and global cost targets much earlier than generally expected. This is critical to making green hydrogen commercially viable and decarbonising hard-to-abate sectors.

“Hysata’s overall electrolyser system has been designed for ease of manufacturing, scaling and installation, delivering 95 percent overall system efficiency, equivalent to 41.5 kWh/kg, compared to 75 percent or less for existing electrolyser technologies. For hydrogen producers, this will significantly reduce both the capital and operational costs to produce green hydrogen,” Barrett said.

“Hysata is proud to be at the forefront of this technology innovation and introducing an entirely new category of electrolyser that is as monumental as the shift from the internal combustion engine to electric motors,” Gerry Swiegers, Hysata’s chief technology officer and a University of Wollongong professor, concluded.

Hopefully they will also be having conversations with Twiggy Forrest.

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