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Dangerous transport: Can hydrogen from Australia be an alternative to oil and gas?

2022-07-28T13:20:49.366Z

Dangerous transport: Can hydrogen from Australia be an alternative to oil and gas? Created: 07/28/2022, 15:06 Robert Habeck (Die Grünen) would like to promote the development of solar-powered hydrogen. © Bernd von Jutrczenka//dpa/Ina Fassbender/afp (Montage) The deal between Australia and Germany is not really "close" at a distance of 16,000 kilometers. But the distance is not the biggest probl



Dangerous transport: Can hydrogen from Australia be an alternative to oil and gas?

Created: 07/28/2022, 15:06

Robert Habeck (Die Grünen) would like to promote the development of solar-powered hydrogen.

© Bernd von Jutrczenka//dpa/Ina Fassbender/afp (Montage)

The deal between Australia and Germany is not really "close" at a distance of 16,000 kilometers.

But the distance is not the biggest problem.

Brisbane – The stuff is as old as the sea, the agreement is still green behind the ears.

Environmentally friendly hydrogen from Australia is intended to reduce Germany's dependence on Russian oil and gas in the escalating Ukraine conflict and is considered an important building block for achieving climate goals.

Most recently, the EU competition watchdogs also gave the green light for the billion-euro hydrogen subsidy to support the energy transition.

The first results of the "HySupply" feasibility study commissioned by both countries are now available.

"In summary, it can be stated so far that the geographical distance between Australia and Germany does not speak against the establishment of a supply chain for green hydrogen," says Dr.

Gabriele Rose, Managing Director of the German-Australian Chamber of Industry and Commerce (AHK) in Sydney

Merkur.de

from IPPEN.MEDIA.

According to the study, factors other than direct transport costs are much more decisive for the price and thus for the marketability of green hydrogen in Germany.

Hydrogen as an alternative must become globally available on an industrial scale and at a price that can compete with fossil fuels.

Russian gas in the Ukraine war: Hydrogen deal between Australia and Germany

The production of hydrogen is nothing new - it has long been used in fertilizer production and oil refining.

Water is split into hydrogen and oxygen by electrolysis.

So far, however, the primary energy source for production has mostly been natural gas, a fossil fuel with high CO2 emissions.

The hydrogen is considered “green” if the electricity for splitting it is generated from renewable energies such as wind or sun.

This is where Australia comes in and its seemingly endless potential for wind and solar power as the basis for cheap energy.

And the cooperation with Germany should be the key to bringing the new technology to market maturity.

Australia correspondent Katharina Loesche

The technology is there – it's the cost of renewable energy that's currently holding the industry back.

This is where Australia comes in and its seemingly endless potential for wind and solar power as the basis for cheap energy.

And the cooperation with Germany should be the key to bringing the new technology to market maturity.

According to official calculations, Australia needs around 880 gigawatts (GW) of newly built solar systems to export as much energy in the form of hydrogen as it currently exports in the form of liquefied natural gas (LNG).

The solar cells would cover an area of ​​around 10,400 square kilometers.

That is roughly the area of ​​Lebanon or three times the area of ​​Mallorca.

"By Australian standards, that's about half the size of our largest cattle ranch," explains Dr.

Alan Finkel, Lead Advisor to the Australian Government on Low Carbon Technologies.

Australia is used to thinking in oversized dimensions.

The imposing iron ore mines in the remote Pilbara region and the world's largest floating offshore LNG facility off the west coast are just two examples of the dimensions

Australia's outback: solar cells as far as the eye can see

“With the cost of solar and wind power falling 82 percent and 39 percent, respectively, globally over the past decade, the cost of producing clean hydrogen today is only three or four times less than what it takes to to be able to compete with fossil fuels,” says Finkel.

He assumes that the gap will close quickly.

The Agency for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIRO) also predicts that technical advances will lead to an 83 percent drop in the cost of electrolysis equipment by 2040.

"This is where German hydrogen technology can be used and help to quickly reduce production costs," explains Rose from the AHK Sydney.

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So far, the German energy group E.ON and its Australian partner Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) have wanted to bring green hydrogen to Germany on a large scale, and the suppliers RWE and Uniper are also pushing the pace on the subject.

ThyssenKrupp is driving the development of electrolysis plants worldwide, Siemens Energy and MAN are involved in projects in Australia.

"In the field of hydrogen, the German-Australian cooperation is a real win-win situation," says Rose.

"Australia is a reliable democratic partner with decades of experience as an energy exporter and there is an opportunity to trade with Europe as we build the hydrogen economy."

If one adds the logistics provided by the mining industry,

Germany and Australia as energy partners: ship logistics under pressure

However, Germany and Australia separate several oceans.

“We can't just build a long pipeline under the sea.

We need ships,” says Finkel.

The challenge: Because of its extremely low density, hydrogen takes up a large volume in its gaseous state.

For transport by ship, it therefore has to be put under high pressure or, because of its boiling point of -252.9 °C, cooled down considerably.

This is not without risks.

“When hydrogen reacts with the right amount of oxygen, a tremendous amount of energy is released, causing an explosion.

In addition, hydrogen has a relatively low combustion temperature and is therefore highly flammable.

Also, since hydrogen is colorless and odorless, it is difficult to detect a leak in a system.

About IPPEN.MEDIA

The IPPEN.MEDIA network is one of the largest online publishers in Germany.

At the locations in Berlin, Hamburg/Bremen, Munich, Frankfurt, Cologne, Stuttgart and Vienna, journalists from our central editorial office research and publish for more than 50 news offers.

These include brands such as Merkur.de, FR.de and BuzzFeed Germany.

Our news, interviews, analyzes and comments reach more than 5 million people in Germany every day.

At the beginning of the year, Australia sent a ship loaded with liquid hydrogen to Japan for the first time.

A milestone for the transport of the promising energy carrier, even if the "Suiso Frontier" was powered by diesel and the hydrogen was produced with Australian brown coal.

"The race for the production and transport of green hydrogen on a large scale has picked up speed," confirmed Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) in March.

Another three months later, the South Korean shipyard Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) has already received orders for 18 hydrogen transporters.

According to estimates by the world's largest shipbuilding industry, the number could increase to 200 larger-capacity ships by 2040.

Hydrogen as an alternative?

Agreement with Australia to reduce dependency on Russia

The course has been set for Australia to become a “green powerhouse” for Germany.

Experts assume that the construction of a completely new hydrogen industry will take much longer than many of the project advocates expect.

It is also likely to prove far more complex than the massive expansion of Australia's LNG sector over the past decade, which has catapulted Australia to the forefront of the world's major LNG producers.

In order for hydrogen to become a real alternative to Australia's coal or LNG exports, the big picture must not be lost sight of.

But the Australian is used to thinking in other dimensions.

(Katharina Loesche)

Source: merkur

All news articles on 2022-07-28

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