UNSW Sydney engineers have completed an analysis of green hydrogen production costs, revealing Australia is in the prime position to take advantage of the resource.
The analysis showed Australia could maximise its position as a major producer of green hydrogen through its strong solar resource and large export capabilities.
In a paper published by Cell Reports Physical Science, co-authors Dr Rahman Daiyan and Nathan Chang said different factors and parameters that affect the final cost of producing green hydrogen by electrolysis were compared.
The system and cost simulation model was built by undergraduate student Jonathon Yates, who got the opportunity to work on the project through UNSW’s Taste of Research scholarship program.
“We then saw how this would change the economics in different locations around the world where solar powered electrolysis is being considered,” said Mr Yates.
“We knew that each location that would install such a system would be different – requiring different sizes and having to wear different costs of components.
“Combining these with weather variations means that some locations will have lower cost potential than others, which can indicate an export opportunity.”
Mr Yates said places like Japan, without great solar resources and where system sizes mat be limited, would not be viable, whereas large areas with year-long, prominent sunlight exposure would be best.
“So, there is potentially a significant cost difference when compared to the spacious outback regions of Australia, which have plenty of sunlight,” said Mr Yates.
The researchers add it is not far-fetched to imagine large scale hydrogen energy plants becoming cheaper than fossil fuel ones in the coming decades.
“When we recalculated the cost of hydrogen using other researchers’ projections of electrolyser and PV costs, it’s possible to see green hydrogen costs getting as low as US$2.20 per kg ($3.08) by 2030, which is on par or cheaper than the cost of fossil-fuel produced hydrogen.
“As this happens, Australia, with its great solar resource, will be well placed to take advantage of this.”
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