What is Hydrogen?
Hydrogen is the lightest, smallest and most abundant element in our universe. As a molecule (H2), it is a colourless, odourless, non-toxic gas (although it can also be a liquid).
Although there is an abundance of hydrogen in the universe, it is not usually available in the form that can be used as a fuel – it is bound up in substances like water, and needs to be separated in order to be used as a fuel.
Hydrogen is an excellent carrier of energy and can be used for a broad range of energy applications including as a transport fuel, a substitute for natural gas and for electricity generation. It can also be used in a range of industrial applications including in chemical production and metals processing.
Hydrogen gas can be produced from water in a process known as electrolysis. When electrolysis is powered by renewable energy, the hydrogen produced is free from carbon emissions, making it highly attractive as a way to decarbonise our transport, heating and industrial sectors.
The Hydrogen opportunity
Hydrogen presents a significant economic opportunity as countries such as Japan, South Korea, Singapore and China look towards renewably produced hydrogen as a way to power their nations while reducing emissions.
The emerging hydrogen industry presents an opportunity to use clean renewable hydrogen in Tasmania, and also export our renewable energy, in the form of hydrogen, to other countries.
For Tasmania, the emerging hydrogen industry is an opportunity to create jobs and generate investment, particularly in our regional areas.
The Office of the Coordinator-General is actively working with proponents interested in renewable hydrogen industry development in Tasmania for domestic use and export.
The Office has released a Tasmanian Renewable Hydrogen Prospectus, which highlights Tasmania’s competitive advantages for renewable hydrogen production, with a focus on the Bell Bay Advanced Manufacturing Zone as an ideal hydrogen hub.
Interested proponents can find out more from the Office of the Coordinator-General.
The potential of renewable hydrogen as a clean and flexible energy carrier has been recognised for many years, but economic and technological challenges associated with creating a renewable hydrogen industry are only now starting to be overcome.
With declining costs of renewable energy and hydrogen technology, the increasing importance of decarbonisation, and emerging export and domestic markets, the potential for a renewable hydrogen future is promising.
Tasmania is in an enviable position to take advantage of the global momentum and emerging economic opportunity behind hydrogen.
Access to low cost and reliable renewable energy makes Tasmania an ideal location for renewable hydrogen production, and with our existing renewable energy, this can commence now.
Hydro Tasmania estimates the cost of producing renewable hydrogen in Tasmania could be 10 to 15 per cent lower than from other Australian power grids, and up to 30 per cent lower than from dedicated off-grid variable renewables.
Tasmania also has high quality industrial precincts with access to deep-water ports, strong transmission infrastructure, significant water availability and road and rail infrastructure to support renewable hydrogen production.