Industry News


Can Hydrogen Play a Role in the Changing Energy Mix?

Sorted by Rodney Kelloway


On the 20th March, EESA NSW Committee member Jeff Allen attended an event in Sydney hosted by Siemens which covered presentations on the topics of:

  • Hydrogen for Grid Stability and Energy Storage
  • Hydrogen as a renewable and clean mobility fuel source
  • Hydrogen as a renewable export industry

The background to the event was - “The electricity industry is going through transition, with increasing penetration of renewable energy and grids struggling to maintain security. In mobility, consumers are demanding reduced emissions transportation and have ongoing concerns about fuel quality, supply and storage. The capital intensive build phase of the mining boom has ended - how can we build wealth in the 21st century?”

The speakers were
  • Scott Nargar, Product Planning Manager, Fuel Cell Project Manager, Hyundai
  • Fred Farchmin – Product Manager and Market – Hydrogen Solutions, Siemens Germany
  • Martin Hablutzel, Head of Strategy, Siemens Australia
  • Murray Lyster, Head of Hydrogen Solutions, Siemens Australia

Summarising then;
Storage technologies are a key, not only to the transition to a new energy mix but also for reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Major energy storage solutions currently range from conventional pumped-storage plants to advanced battery-based systems.

There is a view that Pumped-Storage power plants have limited potential for expansion (particularly in Australia), which means we have to find alternative storage technologies that will accommodate large volumes of electricity. Battery storage solutions have made huge advances in recent years. There are battery storage systems with high-performance batteries with the power electronics needed for connection to the grid. The systems can accommodate, and subsequently release, an output of up to 500 kilowatt hours with a capacity of one megawatt. (Other traditional short-term storage solutions of course include capacitors, flywheel storage systems and compressed-air storage).

The drawback with all of the above is that they offer storage periods measured only in minutes or hours. Researchers are therefore focusing on solutions that will convert electricity into forms of energy that lend themselves to long-term storage, such as hydrogen, as well as chemicals such as ammonia and methanol.

Hydrogen storage is seen to be a key enabling technology for the advancement of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies in applications including stationary power, portable power, and transportation.

There are already projects underway in Australia (with even more happening in Europe etc).

Comments on this interesting area will be welcome.

We hope that Siemens will present information on this very interesting area at the Electric Energy.

Society of Australia’s NSW Annual Electric Energy Conference on Wednesday 6th September 2017 (to be held at Dockside Conference Centre, Sydney).