Hydrogen and You
Hydrogen. It’s the most abundant element in the universe, and the lightest. But this isn’t a high school science class, so what does it have to do with you?
Like renewables or natural gas, hydrogen can be used as a source of energy.
When hydrogen burns, it creates water — there’s no emissions involved. Because of this, it is a potential game changer when it comes to clean energy.
Scientists and engineers all over the world are currently working to harness hydrogen’s potential as an energy source in a net zero future.
In the not-too-distant future, when you turn on the TV or hit a light switch, it could very well be hydrogen that is powering your home. In fact, hydrogen is already powering some Australian homes (learn more about Hydrogen Park SA here).
It also holds a lot of potential for transport too, including buses, trucks, and trains. Even hydrogen cars, while a rare sight on the road, are already a thing.
OK, BUT HOW DOES IT WORK?
Hydrogen is typically not found in isolation in the natural world; it is usually found in attachment to other elements as part of a compound or molecule. The most well-known example of this is water, which is made up of molecules formed by two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom (H2O).
As such, hydrogen must be separated before it can be stored and utilised.
The CSIRO says there are two major ways we can produce hydrogen, both of which involve splitting water into oxygen and hydrogen and storing the latter.
The first involves using electricity from renewable energy to create hydrogen (green hydrogen). To create hydrogen at scale for export purposes, we would need new dedicated solar and wind farms in order to reliably carry out the process. Australian renewables don’t have capacity for this at present, but it could be an option for later on down the track.
The second process involves using natural gas (blue hydrogen), which can be done cleanly by capturing and storing the CO2 emissions underground. At present, this is our most viable solution to rapidly building our hydrogen export market and getting an early advantage in what will soon become a big part of the global economy.
Hydrogen isn’t just a big opportunity to slash Australia’s carbon emissions. It’s also an opportunity for an industry offering jobs, energy security and a new export commodity.
Turning hydrogen into clean energy is like the process used for natural gas. With world-leading infrastructure, talent and ability, Australia’s natural gas industry is positioned to take a position at the forefront of the global hydrogen energy economy.
It sounds like a win-win to us.
Want to learn more about hydrogen?
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