A large ship in port

Researchers say the coal-to-hydrogen project’s lower emissions are ‘misleading’

New research has found that a project using Victorian lignite to make hydrogen is unlikely to meet its claimed emissions reductions.

The Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain project aims to test whether it is possible to produce hydrogen from coal for export.

The first shipment of liquefied hydrogen made from coal mined at the Loy Yang lignite mine in the Latrobe Valley was shipped to Japan this year.

A consortium of Japanese and Australian companiesincluding Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Japanese energy giant J-Power and AGL, owner of Loy Yang, are behind the pilot.

But to reach the commercialization stage, the consortium will rely on carbon capture storage to lower emissions and make it carbon neutral.

The consortium behind a world’s first project to produce hydrogen from Victorian coal is celebrating the start of production.ABC Gippsland: Jarrod Whittaker

The consortium plans to The Victorian Government’s Carbon Gridwhich is still in the development phase.

The federal and Victorian governments have made more than $50 million available for the supply chain pilot.

Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor and the consortium said the project would reduce emissions by 1.8 million tons per year if it went commercial.

They said that would be equivalent to the emissions of 350,000 petrol cars.

Think tank says emissions claims are misleading

The independent government policy think tank, the Australia Institute, says it has obtained freedom of information documents showing this emissions claim is misleading as it compared the project to other hydrogen gas projects, which did not use carbon capture storage.

Richie Merzian, director of the Australia Institute’s emerging climate and energy program, said the supply chain project would add between 2.9 and 3.8 million tons of CO2 emissions when compared to renewable hydrogen production. without carbon capture storage.

He said that is equivalent to adding 550,000 to 735,000 petrol cars to the road.

“Those numbers are making inaccurate comparisons (so) it looks like this project will reduce emissions when we know it will actually increase,” he said.

Hydrogen Angus Taylor
Angus Taylor speaks at Hasting harbor as the first shipment of the hydrogen energy supply chain was sent to Japan.ABC Gippsland: Emma Field

However, a coalition government spokesman said the estimate of the reduction in emissions from coal for hydrogen, including carbon storage technology, was achieved using figures from the International Energy Agency and the CSIRO.

“Both the International Energy Agency and the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have recognized that carbon capture and storage technologies are critical to meeting global emissions reduction targets,” said the spokesman for the coalition’s campaign headquarters.

Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain consortium spokesman Jeremy Stone said the Australia Institute’s analysis was “factually inaccurate” as they assumed carbon capture storage would not be part of the project.

“Our calculations on carbon reduction … are about what will happen as the hydrogen energy supply chain continues to capture and store carbon,” he said.

“We now have pure hydrogen produced by gasification of a mix of biomass and coal, which gives us the potential to produce commercially carbon neutral and perhaps carbon negative hydrogen (combined with carbon capture storage).”

Hydrogen Jeremy Stone
Jeremy Stone, of Japanese electricity supplier J-Power, says they are confident their emissions calculation is correct.ABC Gippsland: Emma Field

Carbon capture storage debate

Merzian said the supply chain trial should not be labeled “clean hydrogen” because carbon capture storage had been a “colossal failure”.

Carbon capture storage includes: capture carbon dioxide at the production site, after which it is pumped deep underground where it can migrate to a porous substrate, such as sandstone, and be trapped.

“The reason we still talk about carbon capture and storage is because fossil fuel companies wanted to use it as a marketing tool to pretend they could clean up their act and keep increasing their footprint,” said Mr. Merzian.

The coalition government spokesman said there are 29 commercial carbon capture storage facilities worldwide and more than 100 projects are in various stages of development.

Esso Australia, which has oil and gas operations off the coast of Victoria, recently received approximately $40 million in grants from the federal government for its South East Australia Carbon Capture and Storage Hubs project.

Esso was approached for comment.

“The only way we can bring these technologies to maturity is by making wise investments in their development and implementation,” the coalition spokesman said.

A man in a suit stands in front of a large globe in a conference center.
Richie Merzian is the director of climate and energy at The Australia Institute.ABC news: Isabella Higgins

Australians confused by ‘clean hydrogen’

The Australia Institute also published polls showing that many people were confused by the term ‘clean hydrogen’.

Only one-fifth of the 1007 respondents knew the correct definition, which was set by the federal government and used hydrogen made from fossil fuels and carbon capture storage or from renewable energy.

The poll found that 42 percent in the survey thought “clean hydrogen” was limited to hydrogen using renewable energy sources, a zero-emission process.

“The polls show that people don’t know what clean hydrogen is, so we should scrap that term and just call things as they are,” said Mr Merzian.

#Researchers #coaltohydrogen #projects #emissions #misleading

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