Supply chain model for hydrogen energy industry

Tuesday, 30 May, 2023

Supply chain model for hydrogen energy industry

Researchers have created a supply chain model that could empower the international hydrogen renewable energy industry.

Hydrogen can be generated from water and produces zero carbon emissions; however, it is currently expensive to transport over a long distance and there is no infrastructure in place to do so.

The supply chain model, created by researchers in Australia, Singapore and Germany, is designed to guide the development of international transport of hydrogen and its embodied energy.

The report was published in the Energy Conversion and Management journal.

Associate Professor Kaveh Khalilpour from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), lead of the report, said, “We looked at the renewable hydrogen export from Australia to Singapore, Japan and Germany. Surprisingly, the analysis revealed that it matters whether the goal is to export ‘hydrogen the atom’ or ‘hydrogen the energy’. Each choice leads to a different supply chain system.”

For correct decision-making, a thorough understanding of the whole system is required. With an abundance of renewable energy resources in Australia, the country can attract investments in building green value chains in the region and as far away as Europe, according to Khalilpour.

In Australia, hydrogen is expected to help diversify renewable energy resources beyond solar and wind power. This will be critical to the country’s energy security and necessary to mitigate climate change.

Professor Reinhard Madlener, co-lead of the project, from RWTH Aachen University, Germany, said hydrogen is not a primary energy source, but is a means of transporting renewable energy from one place to another.

“The key business question around the emerging hydrogen economy is whether commodities such as green hydrogen, methanol or ammonia can be exported profitably and competitively also over long distances and across the oceans, thus bringing green energy to other places in the world,” Madlener said.

“Our model suggests that methanol shows great promise as a chemical carrier for exporting renewable energy from Australia at low costs,” said Professor Iftekhar Karimi, from the National University of Singapore, and co-lead of the project.

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