Guest essay by Eric Worrall
h/t Geoff Sherrington – Coal is being rehabilitated as an essential component of the clean energy future.
World-first coal to hydrogen plant trial launched in Victoria
ABC Gippsland By Kellie Lazzaro
Updated Thu at 2:03pm
A world-first trial to use brown coal to make hydrogen has been launched in Victoria’s east as a pilot ‘clean energy’ project that is expected to create 400 jobs — but critics and coal industry experts alike said new measures will be needed to tackle the carbon emissions generated.
A demonstration plant will be built in the Latrobe Valley as part of the $496 million project to develop technology to produce hydrogen from the region’s vast reserves of coal.
The hydrogen would be shipped from the Port of Hastings to Japan under the deal with Kawasaki Heavy Industries, J-Power, Iwatani Corporation, Marubeni and the Japanese Government.
The Federal and Victorian Governments are providing $100 million towards the cost of the trial.
Speaking from the launch at Loy Yang mine, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said hydrogen was a fuel of the future.
“It is critically important that we invest in energy sources of the future and that we affect the transition from older forms of [energy] generation to new forms of generation and we do so seamlessly.”
“This is about new technology, partnering with the Japanese to come up with not only carbon capture and storage, but a way of converting this into hydrogen and making it a fuel of the future,” Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison said.
There are still some kinks to be worked out. The process to generate hydrogen from coal produces a monstrous amount of CO2 – far more CO2 per unit of useful energy than simply burning the coal would produce. But with hydrogen production, unlike hydrocarbon combustion, all the CO2 is produced in one place. This creates an opportunity for carbon sequestration, when technologies to sequester carbon on such an impressive scale are developed.
Creating a clean hydrogen economy will provide the assurance of an ongoing market demand for this potentially zero carbon product, which may spur the development of supply chain solutions like sequestration of the vast clouds of CO2 emitted when the hydrogen is produced.
I’m sure we all look forward to joining hands with and celebrating with our new green friends that coal is no longer the enemy; coal is now an essential component of our zero carbon future.