Workers put $70 million into new hydrogen hub in Queensland, Australia

Australia’s prime minister has invested $70 million (US$48.87 million) to build a hydrogen hub in northern Queensland as part of a Labor Party effort to reduce carbon emissions by 43% by 2030.

At a press conference in Townsville, Queensland, Anthony Albanese said the plans were part of a $500 million program that Australia’s centre-left Labor government is investing in hydrogen facilities across the country. Told.

“It speaks not only of today’s work, but also of the future” Albanese Said Saturday. “When you drive into this facility here in Townsville, you see over a million solar panels. It’s about being able to seize the opportunities that are there.”

He said research into renewable energy solutions is “where everything is headed” in economies around the world, and that Labor investments will help boost zinc and aluminum refineries that rely on high energy use. Having said that means Queensland will not be left to become non-energy. Competitiveness.

“But the reason we are building hydrogen hubs around Australia is because the growth and potential of this industry is not a niche industry. It makes a big difference to the Australian economy, not just in terms of domestic production and consumption.”

He urged Australia to join Europe and the US in the renewable energy race to prepare for future conditions of “carbon barriers and tariffs”.

“Or we can take the lead and change those industries and their carbon footprint so that they are not just industries that can survive, but industries that can thrive. Because there is,” added the prime minister.

Despite Labor’s push for renewable energy, issues with the new technology have received little attention, with concerns that the technology is nowhere near efficient to use green hydrogen gas in a way that could power the country. Not.

In a speech to the 47th Australian Parliament, newly elected Member of Parliament Colin Boyce (who represents Flynn, a coal mining region in central Queensland) said his voters Gladstone City Hydrogen energy if it can be produced in a carbon neutral way.

“Hydrogen is being promoted as a savior, a silver bullet for future energy needs,” a Liberal MP told parliament. “Hydrogen is extremely dangerous. It is highly flammable and has certain properties that make it very difficult to produce, store, transport and use industrial quantities of hydrogen.”

He has been involved in the 1986 Challenger space shuttle explosion, the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident, and recent explosion of Callide C coal-fired generators.

“Hydrogen cannot be mined. You have to do it. Through the electrolysis of water, you can destroy the water molecules and produce hydrogen and oxygen,” he said, adding power to the process. He noted that the amount of renewable energy it needs to supply is “massive”.

Hydrogen generation could be a key puzzle piece in pushing for net zero and phasing out coal-fired power, with nuclear power being another option being considered around the world.

Achieving a renewable energy-powered energy grid requires vast amounts of storage, billions of dollars and materials.

Giant lithium batteries are now the preferred way to store excess power from solar panels and wind turbines. This storage needs to be utilized when the wind is not blowing and the sun is not shining, especially at night and during peak hours. Power usage.

Battery technology has improved, but it still has many shortcomings. For example, the world’s largest battery system, the FPL Manatee Energy Storage Center in Florida, can only power about 329,000 homes for his two hours at a time.

In the case of renewable energy systems such as pumped hydro, the storage element is simply building a dam system to store vast amounts of water, which is then pumped back through turbines to generate electricity. increase. However, not all countries and regions have access to suitable environmental conditions for using hydropower.

As such, governments have invested billions in hydrogen technology to find alternative solutions. Instead of charging batteries with surplus power, power is fed through an electrolyser (an energy-intensive process) to produce hydrogen that fills reservoirs and can be used as a new energy source or as a synthetic fuel.

Like many new technologies for net-zero propulsion, it is still in the early stages of development.

Daniel Teng contributed to this report.

Nina Nguyen

Nina Nguyen is a reporter based in Sydney. She covers Australian news with a focus on social, cultural and identity issues. She is fluent in Vietnamese. Please contact her at [email protected]