The global hydrogen market is expected to grow to approximately $2.5 trillion by 2050 (Hydrogen Council).
The HESC Project, like any new commercial industry development, is projected to trigger the development of downstream opportunities for hydrogen in Australia, including in mobility, power generation, storage and broader technology sectors. A new domestic hydrogen market will act as a catalyst for further research and development activities, attracting further investment in Australia.
Hydrogen is tipped as one of the most promising and clean energy carriers for the 21st century. The global Hydrogen Council says hydrogen could supply up to a fifth of worldwide energy needs by 2050 (Hydrogen Council, Hydrogen Scaling Up, November 2017).
Hydrogen gives off no carbon emissions when used for electricity production in fuel cells or gas turbines. It can be produced with near-zero emissions from coal or gas, when coupled with carbon capture and storage (CCS), at a relatively low cost.
The HESC project will create a sustainable solution for the use of Australian coal deposits that does not contribute to carbon emissions. The project is considering carbon offsets to mitigate the CO2 produced by gasification and gas refining process.
With its abundant natural resources and first class (export) infrastructure, Australia could be the first to create a commercially viable global supply chain for hydrogen, a commodity in growing demand globally.
Carbon capture and storage
CCS is a proven technology at commercial scale. There are now 22 commercial scale CCS facilities globally (17 operating, 5 under construction/commissioning).
CCS is an important part of global action on climate change to meet the goals set at Paris in 2015 as emphasised by the IEA (2017) and as acknowledged through Mission Innovation (2017) – a global group of 22 nations and the EU advancing clean energy technologies.
As such, CCS will be an integral part of the commercial scale hydrogen supply chain from Victoria to Japan to enable a low emissions future.
The CarbonNet Project, which is jointly funded by the Australian and Victorian Governments, is investigating the potential for establishing a commercial-scale CCS network from the Latrobe Valley to offshore storage sites in the Gippsland Basin.
CarbonNet presents a potential CCS solution for the HESC commercial phase.
For more information on CCS, we recommend visiting the CarbonNet web page: www.earthresources.vic.gov.au/carbonnet
During the pilot phase, the hydrogen production process will create a small amount of CO2 – equivalent to annual emissions from about 20 cars.
While CCS will be a key aspect of a commercial-scale phase, CCS will not feature during the pilot project due to the small volumes of CO2 involved.