Engineers from UNSW Sydney have crunched the numbers on green hydrogen production costs and revealed that Australia is in a prime position to take advantage of the green hydrogen revolution.
In a new paper titled Cell Reports Physical Science, the researchers identified the key factors required to reduce the cost of green hydrogen to become competitive with other methods of producing hydrogen using fossil fuels.
The study authors highlight how different factors affect the cost of producing green hydrogen by electrolysis, using a dedicated solar system and no additional power from the grid.
Without using electricity from the grid, which is predominantly supplied by fossil fuel electricity, the method produces hydrogen with nearly zero emissions. Being grid-free also means such system could be deployed remotely.
The researchers examined a range of parameters that could affect the final price of green hydrogen energy including the cost of electrolyser and solar photovoltaic systems, electrolyser efficiency, available sunlight and the size of installations.
In thousands of calculations using randomly ascribed values for various parameters in different scenarios, the researchers found the cost of green hydrogen ranged from US$2.89 to US$4.67 per kilogram.
It was possible to get even lower than this, the researchers said, with proposed scenarios approaching US$2.50 per kilogram, at which point green hydrogen starts to become competitive with fossil fuel production.
The system and cost simulation model itself was built by undergraduate student Jonathon Yates, who got the opportunity to work on the project through UNSW’s Taste of Research scholarship programme.