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The outlook for hydrogen as an energy carrier

By Paul Grad |

Many countries are now making rapid advances in hydrogen energy technologies and strategy, and the rest of the world has much to learn from their experience, according to a new report — Advancing Hydrogen — compiled by a team from the University of Adelaide (Adelaide, Australia; www.adelaide.edu.au) and released by the Future Fuels Cooperative Research Centre in Australia on July 31.

The report contains 19 summaries of strategies and roadmaps from around the world. It sheds light on how countries, regions and industries are thinking about the potential for H2 and helps develop other H2 roadmaps and strategies.

According to the report, the developments around the world suggest we could see large-scale and rapid deployment of H2 technologies from about 2030. Until then, the focus will probably remain on testing and developing technologies.

The most attractive method for producing H2 is through water electrolysis powered by renewable energy, because it provides a zero-carbon source of H2. However, the costs of water electrolysis are still two to four times higher than steam methane reforming.

The report says the fluctuating cost of electricity and discrepancy in energy credits are the two main barriers to large-scale hydrogen production through electrolysis.

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