Tasmanian sunshine to power hydrogen fuel

·1-min read

Tasmanian sunshine could be used to power green hydrogen projects under a deal inked with an international renewable energy company.

Australia's Countrywide Hydrogen and Wirsol Energy on Monday agreed to work together on the viability of solar-to-hydrogen projects in the state.

Countrywide managing director Geoffrey Drucker hopes to support the transition from fossil fuels such as diesel and natural gas to emission-free hydrogen.

He has two renewable hydrogen projects under way in Tasmania and two in Victoria, and hopes to co-locate hydrogen production with Wirsol solar farms to make the lowest-cost liquid hydrogen.

Under the agreement, Wirsol will evaluate each Tasmanian project location for installing solar, and possibly battery energy storage, to find the lowest cost of energy for hydrogen production.

Liquid hydrogen, or blends of the new fuel, could replace gas that is piped into homes and factories. They could be used for fuel cells to power cars and trucks, or for power generation at remote mining sites.

Green or renewable hydrogen is produced from electrolysis - splitting hydrogen from oxygen in water - using renewable electricity with zero direct emissions.

Mr Drucker said minimising the cost of power using "behind-the-meter" solar will deliver the lowest hydrogen supply price and would encourage potential customers to make the switch to emission-free hydrogen.

As well as cost, Countrywide and Wirsol also recognise that a refuelling network is critical.

"Tasmania will only require three refuelling stations to cover the state," he said.

Wirsol entered the Australian market in 2016 and has renewable energy and storage projects in NSW, Victoria and Queensland.