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Prime Mover Magazine

Industry leaders tout hydrogen as future fuel source

The head of green energy generator and retailer, Powershop, has backed the National Energy Guarantee as a policy for future proofing investments in renewables. Ed McManus, Powershop, Chief Executive, said the decarbonisation of electricity and the electrification of transport would need to be carried out in tandem if Australia was to position itself as leader in a global renewable economy.

“Australia has the largest coal reserves, huge uranium reserves and enormous gas reserves,” he said, “It has the potential to be a global energy superpower in the new energy economy.”

With many of the major truck builders pushing into electric vehicle technology, by looking to apply battery electric trucks or hydrogen fuel cell offerings, brown coal is emerged as the unlikely source for cleaner energy emissions in the future.

Dr Alan Finkel, Chief Scientist of Australia, said during a keynote address at this week’s Australian Road Transport Suppliers Association’s Global Heavy Vehicle Summit that Japanese companies were already looking to Australia as a hydrogen supplier.

“The Victorian Government has a deal with the Japanese government, Kawasaki, J Power and other companies to take brown coal through a complex process to turn that into hydrogen to capture the Co2 waste as storage,” he said. “The intention is to send this clean hydrogen to Japan and South Korea and other countries who are determined to reduce their carbon footprint but don’t have the abundant scope for renewables that we have in Australia.”

Japan has declared itself as a long term customer of clean hydrogen, way past 2050, which will drive innovations and technology behind new ways of developing clean hydrogen. Toyota, according to Dr Finkel, is already testing hydrogen B-doubles in California.
The $500 million pilot brown coal to hydrogen project in Victoria according to McManus is an example of the vast potential hydrogen might play in the future.  

“Today we’re an exporter of gas and minerals; tomorrow we can be an exporter of energy, new fuels and most importantly knowledge," he said.

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