What is hydrogen energy?
Hydrogen is the most common element in the universe. It can be produced as a gas or liquid, or converted into other materials, and has many uses such as fuel for transport or heating, a way to store electricity, or a raw material in industrial processes.
When it is produced using renewable energy such as solar electricity, hydrogen becomes a way of storing renewable energy for use at a later time when it is needed.
Hydrogen energy can be stored as a gas and even delivered through existing natural gas pipelines. When converted to a liquid or another suitable material, hydrogen can also be transported on trucks and in ships. This means hydrogen can also be exported overseas, effectively making it a tradable energy commodity.
Hydrogen in Australia
Like the rest of the world, the main use of hydrogen in Australia is as a raw material for industrial processes.
Renewable hydrogen use in Australia would help us to reduce emissions in those high-temperature industries as well as some transport sectors.
Several scientific and government reports have also found that hydrogen produced in Australia could be sold to the world.
Researchers at the CSIRO have produced a National Hydrogen Roadmap for the development of a hydrogen industry in Australia, and the nation’s energy ministers have supported the development of a National Hydrogen Strategy.
What we do in hydrogen energy
LC Energy was engaged to specify the equipment for the first major off-grid renewable energy system that employs hydrogen as a means of energy storage. Supplying renewable energy to the Sir Samuel Griffith Building at Griffith University, the project required first-hand knowledge of hydrogen production by electrolysis and the operation of fuel cell systems. Fortunately we have engaged Dr Andrew Dicks to help with such projects. He brings many decades of engineering and scientific expertise to the team, having worked with leading developers of fuel cells and hydrogen energy systems in Europe and North America. Since the involvement with Griffith University, LC Energy has been engaged in feasibility studies for hydrogen energy and in R&D projects concerned with hydrogen production and PEM fuel cell development.
Feasibility studies and risk assessments
We produced a report for Fraser Island that examined the feasibility of powering the resorts on the island with renewable energy and hydrogen. We have assisted a Queensland company in the design of a solar-hydrogen plant, examining safety and process control issues, and taking part in a HAZOP study.
Research and Development
LC Energy collaborated in a project at Queensland University of Technology examining novel hydrogen production technology. Supported by Queensland government the project was based on the application of micro-channel reactor systems, to reduce the cost and footprint of industrial steam reforming processes so that they could be more closely integrated with fuel cell systems.
Recognising the expertise of Dr Andrew Dicks in fuel cell systems, LC Energy is currently seeking funding to develop the next generation of proton-exchange-membrane fuel cell for transport and stationary power applications. The development builds on a knowledge of the atomistic processes that occur on the fuel cell catalysts, employing novel membrane technology to enhance the electrochemical reactions, whilst reducing the cost of the catalyst materials.
Seminars and workshops
LC Energy has run seminars and workshop in hydrogen and fuel cell energy. A workshop is currently being planned for 2-3 April 2020 at Tonsley Park, South Australia. Further details are given here: