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    Australia Launches Hydrogen Research Project


Australian gas producers are considering exports of liquefied hydrogen, following the government's announcement.

by: William Powell

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Australia Launches Hydrogen Research Project

Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (Appea) said January 22 it welcomed the release of the Australian Labor Party’s National Hydrogen Plan.

“There is tremendous interest in hydrogen as a new, cleaner fuel. Labor’s promise to direct A$1bn ($710mn) into funding of hydrogen research and commercial development would spur investment into this emerging technology,” said its CEO Malcolm Roberts.

The Hydrogen Strategy Group, chaired by the Chief Scientist, Professor Alan Finkel AO, has highlighted the opportunity for Australia to export liquefied hydrogen alongside LNG to meet the growing demand for cleaner energy across the Asia-Pacific.

Roberts said that Australia’s LNG export success story means our industry has the technology, the expertise and the commercial and trade relationships to make hydrogen exports a reality. “Indeed, hydrogen is already being produced from Australian LNG exports in some of our overseas markets.  In the US, natural gas is the dominant source of their growing hydrogen industry.”

Natural gas can provide a fuel source for ‘blue’ hydrogen made through the process of steam methane reforming (SMR), with any greenhouse gas emissions generated during SMR managed through market offset or technical abatement to offer a carbon-neutral product.

Even with the carbon, LNG still makes a major contribution to the emissions of importing countries, where it displaces coal, Appea said last year, in a call for a global carbon market. The finalisation of the rules for international trade in emissions permits/credits was deferred at COP24 for further work in 2019 ahead of final agreement at COP25.

“While the projections show the production of LNG for export also results in greenhouse gas emissions, a conservative estimate released by the government earlier in December found Australia’s LNG exports have the potential to save importing countries 130mn mt/yr of carbon emissions," Appea said late December.

“When used instead of other traditional fuels, LNG cuts emissions by half in many cases. LNG also helps developing countries to reduce air pollution, a major cause of millions of premature deaths.”