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Shipping Australian Sunshine: Liquid Renewable Green Fuel Export


Renewable green fuels (RGF) such as hydrogen are the global energy future. Air pollution is compounded with climate change as the emissions driving both development problems come largely from the same source of fossil fuel burning. As an energy exporter, Australian energy export dominates the total energy production and the RGF has become central to the current proposal of Australian government to reach net zero emission. The hydrogen production from solar panels only on 3% of Australia's land area could compensate 10 times of Germany's non-electricity energy consumption. In the unique geographic position, Australia's RGF export attracts significant costs for long distance onboard storage and shipping. While the cost reduction of RGF production relies on technological advancement which needs a long time, the storage and shipping costs must be minimised for Australia to remain competitive in the global energy market. The present review concentrates on Australian export pathways of lifecycles of liquid renewable green fuels including renewable liquified hydrogen (LH2), liquified methane (LCH4), ammonia (NH3) and methanol (CH3OH) as liquid RGF have the advantages of adopting the existing infrastructure. This review compares the advantages and disadvantages of discussed renewable energy carriers. It is found that the cost of LH2 pathway can be acceptable for shipping distance of up to 7000 km (Asian countries such as Japan) but ammonia (NH3) or methanol (CH3OH) pathways may be more cost effective for shipping distance above 7000 km for European counties such as Germany. These observations suggest the proper fuel forms to fulfill the requirements to different customers, and hence will highlight Australia's position as one of major exporters of renewable energy in the future. Detailed techno-economic analysis is worth to be done for supplying more quantitative results.

Funding source: The authors acknowledge part of financial support from Victorian Hydrogen Hub (VH2). RS acknowledges the opportunity of a summer internship in 2021e2022.
Related subjects: Policy & Socio-Economics
Countries: Australia

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