Challenges with Hydrogen in Australia

Hydrogen has been touted as a potential solution to the challenges of transitioning to renewable energy in Australia. However, there are several challenges that must be overcome in order for hydrogen to be widely adopted in the country.

One of the main challenges with hydrogen is the lack of infrastructure for producing, storing, and distributing the gas. In order for hydrogen to be used as a fuel, it must be produced through a process called electrolysis, which uses electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. This requires a source of electricity, as well as facilities for storing and distributing the hydrogen.

Another challenge is the cost of producing hydrogen. Currently, hydrogen is much more expensive to produce than fossil fuels, making it difficult to compete with traditional energy sources. This means that in order for hydrogen to be adopted on a large scale, it will need to become more cost-effective.

Green hydrogen produced with renewable resources costs between about $3/kg and $6.55/kg, according to the European Commission's July 2020 hydrogen strategy. Fossil-based hydrogen costs about $1.80/kg, and the commission estimated the cost of blue hydrogen, which pairs carbon capture with steam methane reformation of natural gas, at about $2.40/kg.

In addition to these challenges, there are also concerns about the safety of hydrogen gas. Hydrogen is highly flammable, and if it leaks or is not handled properly, it can pose a serious risk of fire or explosion. This means that there will need to be robust safety measures in place in order to use hydrogen safely.

Overall, while hydrogen has the potential to play a significant role in Australia's transition to renewable energy, there are significant challenges that must be overcome in order for it to be widely adopted. These include the need for infrastructure, cost-effectiveness, and safety.