Green hydrogen – the missing piece in Australia’s decarbonisation puzzle
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The recent Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) report reminds us that action is needed to help Australia, and the rest of the world, pick up the pace in reaching net-zero emissions.
Regardless of where you stand politically, the report – like many before it – tells us the world is getting hotter. And unequivocally, atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations are higher and rising faster than ever before.
With insights going back thousands of years, and the ability to send man to the moon, NASA is a reliable source of data into this matter. The graph below is extracted from the NASA website and shows the stark realities of atmospheric carbon dioxide.
And this is usually where the problem starts. More often than not, conversations about climate are fuelled by rage and regret. We do not focus on the facts or pragmatic and realistic options.
For example, how do we reach net-zero emissions whilst still providing 24/7 reliable power. Does driving an electric car fuelled by fossil fuel generated power really reduce CO2? How can we transition away from fossil fuels and maintain our standard of living? How can we reliably store renewable energy to ensure our grid stability?
Currently, energy generation belches out a third of Australia’s CO2 emissions. With entire countries committing to net-zero emissions, surely, we can start with our grid?
Quite simply, without a net-zero energy infrastructure, a net-zero economy cannot exist.
But this won’t happen overnight.
We need an approach to bring together multiple renewable technologies to create a reliable renewable energy supply chain. One that won’t buckle and strain in peak hours or seasons.
A robust net-zero energy infrastructure is key to delivering lower greenhouse gas emissions without compromising on reliability.
Green hydrogen has the potential to address decarbonisation and rising temperatures. It is clean, reliable, and can generate heat and power for everyday commercial, transport, and residential use.
What’s more, the National Hydrogen Strategy states 1kg of clean hydrogen avoids 15kg CO2 emissions.
As a result, it’s thought that hydrogen could supply up to 25% of the world’s energy needs by 2050.
At the same time, it will enable the storage of valuable solar and wind power for it to be distributed at times of peak consumption.
The IPCC report is a call to action. But what it tells us is, we still have options.
What we know for sure is, the foundation of a net-zero economy is a net-zero infrastructure. Fossil fuels will be phased out and replaced with sustainable, renewable alternatives.
The place to start is looking at the systems that can be improved now. For example, as we phase out fossil fuels, we should look for integrated energy solutions. These are projects that combine key elements of green energy production and storage such as renewable baseload energy and hydrogen production.
Such projects will allow us to address our energy needs, while moving closer to the renewables that will support net-zero emissions.
More than 70 countries (representing over half the world’s GDP) are already on this path with net-zero carbon ambitions. Approximately half of these have hydrogen-specific strategies as a beacon for future decarbonisation and energy security.
To make this move successful however, we need dedicated, governmental focus on bringing green hydrogen to scale.
Verdant Earth Technologies firmly believes that renewable hydrogen will change the world, unlocking the net-zero future desperately needed to protect humanity’s collective future.
This article was developed in collaboration with Verdant Earth Technologies, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.
This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.