About Hydrogen #ST10 [fr]
As the world seeks to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions in order to meet its climate commitments, Australia is moving towards the development of a clean hydrogen industry to become a large-scale supplier in the Indo-Pacific region and the world. The CNRS international research network on Conversion and Energy Storage for maritime or stand-alone applications (IRN FACES) is an example of the possible synergies on hydrogen between France and Australia.
The International Research Network FACES - French-Australian research network on Conversion and Energy Storage for maritime or stand-alone applications should be officially launched at the beginning of 2021 at the University of New South Wales, in Sydney.
This Network aims to frame the scientific bilateral collaboration on materials used for energy production and storage, as well as on integrated systems. IRN-FACES includes eight CNRS French laboratories, accompanied by their supporting universities, and four Australian Universities. This network creates an extensive pool of research expertise geared toward supporting industry and innovation. The network focuses on electrochemical storage (including batteries and supercapacitors) and the hydrogen energy chain (hydrogen production, storage and conversion). It targets the development of advanced energy solutions capable of providing reliable and robust power to isolated systems such as ship propulsion systems and off-grid energy systems adapted to islands, coastal areas and remote isolated regions.
The network IRN-FACES is coordinated by Rd. Fermín CUEVAS - CNRS research director at the East-Paris Institute of Chemistry and Materials Science (ICMPE) - and Prof. Francois AGUEY-ZINSOU, leader of the Material Energy Research Laboratory in nanoscale (MERLin) at The School of Chemical Engineering, UNSW.
Following the publication of the National Hydrogen Strategy in November 2019, Australia is embarking on the development of a hydrogen production industry to stimulate its economy, and reduce domestic and international greenhouse gas emissions. There are indeed two means of producing clean hydrogen: hydrogen production from renewable energies by electrolysis of water, and a production by thermochemical reaction on coal or gas, which will need to be coupled with a carbon capture and storage technology. The recent Technology Investment Roadmap published in May 2020 also supports this hydrogen sector, while CSIRO, the Federal Research Agency, is launching a Hydrogen Industry Mission to support applied research in this field.
The economic benefits for the country of an Australian hydrogen industry are estimated at 1.7 billion dollars and 2800 jobs by 2030. In addition, Australia’s competitive advantages are significant with its existing export infrastructure and expertise, its proximity to the Asian market, and its renewable energy and carbon capture and storage capabilities.
- A national strategy
Central planks of the Australian strategy are:
- The development of the hydrogen sector for export , particularly to the Asian market. The country needs to consider its options for large-scale export support infrastructures.
- The adaptation of existing infrastructures and the assessment of changes in regulations and standards necessary for the transport and use of hydrogen are carefully studied.
- The country intends to develop a network of Hydrogen hubs that will bring together large-scale demand to facilitate efficiency gains.
- This strategy defends a government-industry partnership , in which the government would support the development of the sector through trade agreements, export guarantees, and subsidies, but commercial activity would be led by private investment and expertise.
- The hydrogen industry will eventually have to be economically viable . The Technology Investment Roadmap proposes a production target of less than AUD$2 per kilogram.
- Pilot projects:
Numerous R&D projects in the sector are supported at the federal and state level, among which some flagship projects:
- In partnership with Japanese companies a pilot plant for the production of hydrogen by thermochemical reaction on coal is under way in the Trobe Valley, in the state of Victoria. Once it reaches the commercialisation stage, it should be coupled with a carbon capture and storage system.
- In partnership with the Collaborative Research Centre for Future Fuels, Australia is implementing the technical standards and regulations needed to integrate 10% hydrogen into the city gas network.
- The country is building hydrogen refueling stations for heavy transport (including technical standards and regulations) in partnership with the joint venture Hydrogen Mobility Australia’s Lighthouse.