Hydrogen energyProject Liquid Fuel Carrier Research and Development
This report presents the interim project summary of the activities related to the development and integration of key components of a technology suite which once fully developed caters for both generation of renewable hydrogen as well as its conversion to liquid fuels
The major part of the proposed development focuses on the solid oxide electrolyser (SOE) device; however, it also includes crucial activities for matching the SOE characteristics (input power requirements and outlet gas composition) with other key system components to support practical-scale integration. The long- term goals of this work (beyond the life of this current project) are to demonstrate a fully integrated system consisting of Solar Energy Source coupled directly to SOE, and a thermally integrated catalytic reactor for downstream processing of synthesis gas to produce liquid fuels.
Australia’s vast potential of renewable energy (RE) generation and opportunity for exporting renewable energy from Australia is well documented in the National Hydrogen Strategy and various roadmap documents from different federal and state government agencies, and affiliated institutions including CSIRO. In the past couple of decades, the cost of production for RE sources has significantly reduced. For example, in the last 10 years, the cost of wind energy (onshore and offshore) has decreased 68%, while solar energy costs have dropped rapidly from 0.378 USD/kWh to 0.045 USD/kWh. Once the electricity from renewable sources is generated, it must either be transported via the electrical grid or transformed into another form. Inherent intermittency and uneven distribution remain the key challenges for the RE supply chain. In several instances, the regions lean in RE supply are the largest consumers of energy. Batteries cater for short term energy localised storage solution, however, strategies for transport and export of RE need to be devised. In response, along with green hydrogen, various hydrogen carriers like ammonia and synthetic hydrocarbons produced using green hydrogen are being evaluated as a media to transport and store RE. Several alternative technologies to produce renewable fuels are under exploration. However, both process cost and capital remain a strong barrier to further acceptance of technologies.