Former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull recently said that Australia has the potential to be a world leader in the production and export of green hydrogen. He said this during his keynote at the Global Wind Energy Council ‘s Asia Pacific Offshore Wind & Green Hydrogen Summit 2023 in Melbourne towards the end of August.
He pointed to Australia’s abundant renewable energy resources, such as solar and wind, which can be used directly to produce the clean fuel.
“Australia has all the ingredients to be a world leader in green hydrogen,” Turnbull said. “We need to seize this opportunity and create a clean energy future for our country.”
Hydrogen is considered a sustainable fuel that can help to ensure energy security in Asia. It is a clean-burning fuel that does not produce emissions when it is used to power vehicles, heat homes and businesses, or generate electricity. However, hydrogen as a fuel is not a primary energy source, meaning it must be produced or extracted from other sources.
There are a number of ways to produce hydrogen, including steam reforming of natural gas, electrolysis of water, and gasification of biomass.
Steam reforming of natural gas is the most common method, but it produces carbon dioxide emissions. This is called “gray hydrogen” and is considered environmentally harmful because of the amount of CO2 released. “Blue hydrogen” is produced using the same process as gray hydrogen, but the carbon dioxide emissions are captured and stored for chemical processing later.
Electrolysis of water is the cleanest but most expensive method. Currently, this method is what produces “green hydrogen.” The gasification of biomass is also a promising method that produces no emissions, but it is still in the early stages of development.
The cost of producing and distributing hydrogen is a major barrier to its widespread adoption. However, the price of hydrogen is expected to come down as the technology matures and the demand for hydrogen increases.
Hydrogen a game changer
Turnbull said that green hydrogen is the only way to power the world with clean energy.
Companies like Toyota and BMW are focusing on hydrogen-powered vehicles as part of their electrification of transportation, and truckmakers like Cummins, Damlier-Benz, Hino, Hyundai, Scania, and Volvo are prototyping either full hydrogen or hydrogen fuel cell engines.
In his keynote, Turnbull said that green hydrogen is a “game-changer” for Australia and the world. He said that it has the potential to power our homes, businesses, and vehicles without emitting any greenhouse gases.
“Green hydrogen can help us to create jobs, boost economic growth, and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions,” Turnbull said. “It is an investment in our future.”
What Australia should do
Turnbull also said that the Australian government needs to develop a national green hydrogen strategy. He said that this strategy should set out clear goals for the development and deployment of green hydrogen in Australia.
“Australia has abundant renewable energy resources, such as solar and wind, which can be used to produce green hydrogen. We also have a strong mining and energy sector, which gives us a competitive advantage in the production and export of green hydrogen.
“A national green hydrogen strategy would send a strong signal to the market and encourage investment in this important industry,” Turnbull said.
Malcolm Turnbull served as Prime Minister of Australia from 2015 to 2018. He was also Minister for Communications from 2013 to 2015. He was instrumental in establishing the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), which provides funding for renewable energy projects, and he played a leading role in international climate change negotiations, as one of the architects of the Paris Agreement, which was signed by 195 countries in 2015.
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