Beware the difference between ‘clean’ and ‘green’ hydrogen

Hydrogen is set to be a crucial part of the energy sector by 2030. It combusts and releases energy without making carbon dioxide, meaning it can be used as an emissions-free source of energy – but research from the Australian National University reminds us that it could have an emissions-intensive future as well. The federal … Continue reading Beware the difference between ‘clean’ and ‘green’ hydrogen

Has our hydrogen future arrived?

Hydrogen has been discussed as the fuel of the future in recent times, with state and federal governments aiming to see renewable hydrogen at a competitive price by 2030. But some companies – most notably Fortescue Future Industries (FFI), an offshoot of mining giant Fortescue Metals Group – have more ambitious dates in mind. FFI … Continue reading Has our hydrogen future arrived?

The Hydrogen solution

Recent news about state hydrogen stategies brings this potential fuel solution back into the foreground. But what is hydrogen and why does it matter? Hydrogen is set to accelerate as a fuel source over the next decade, but we need to watch where it’s used, according to a Cosmos Briefing on the 11th of March … Continue reading The Hydrogen solution

Electrici-wee? Getting energy from wastewater

Could we ever use urine to power batteries? An international team of chemists have come a step closer with a new catalyst for urea reactions. “Urea is globally abundant in wastewater and can be used to power fuel cells as an alternative to conventional technology, which uses clean water in an electrolyser,” explains Yao Zheng, … Continue reading Electrici-wee? Getting energy from wastewater

Turning the tide on wave energy

Ocean waves have long been heralded as a source of energy, but so far it’s been difficult to turn this energy into electricity in a commercially viable way. A team of Australian and Chinese researchers has advanced the cause, developing a device that is twice as effective as any existing technologies. “Our prototype technology overcomes … Continue reading Turning the tide on wave energy

CSIRO’s renewable hydrogen initiative

CSIRO has launched a $5 million program to boost international collaboration on clean hydrogen research. The program will be run by the CSIRO’s new Hydrogen Industry Mission. “We need to connect and learn what’s going on globally,” says Dr Patrick Hartley, leader of the Hydrogen Industry Mission. According to Hartley, the project will “connect our … Continue reading CSIRO’s renewable hydrogen initiative

Path to zero emissions: the future of transport

To describe how I think transport will look in the future I need to set the scene. My Quarterly Essay, “Getting to Zero”, and the Australian Government’s Low Emissions Technology Roadmap, share the same philosophy on the role of technology. We recognise that there are incumbent technologies that are high emission and low cost, and there are … Continue reading Path to zero emissions: the future of transport

A green hydrogen partnership between Australia and Germany

Australia and Germany have agreed to invest in the development of a clean hydrogen supply chain between the two countries, which could see Australia eventually exporting renewable hydrogen fuel to Germany. Hydrogen can be used as a fuel to generate energy when combusted as a gas, like methane. While it can be made using carbon-emitting … Continue reading A green hydrogen partnership between Australia and Germany

Nature inspires a new hydrogen sensor

Some see hydrogen as the fuel of the future, with the potential to service energy-intensive industries – like aviation, shipping and manufacturing – that would tax wind and solar power. But since hydrogen is a colourless, odourless, tasteless and highly flammable gas, it poses a high risk, so unsurprisingly, research into hydrogen technology has included … Continue reading Nature inspires a new hydrogen sensor

Producing hydrogen, not oxygen

The search for alternative energy sources is as wide-ranging as it is important. In a new chapter, scientists from the UK and China report that they have built tiny droplet-based microbial factories that produce hydrogen, rather than oxygen, when exposed to daylight in air. Hydrogen is potentially a climate-neutral fuel but making it usually involves … Continue reading Producing hydrogen, not oxygen

The curious case of the wet meteorites

Scientists studying a rare type of meteorite have discovered that much of Earth’s water may have formed when our planet was born, rather than being delivered later by impacts from ice-bearing asteroids or comets. Enstatite chondrites (ECs) are meteorites composed of the type of material from which the Earth is believed to have been formed, … Continue reading The curious case of the wet meteorites

The biggest engineering challenge

I want you to imagine a highway exclusively devoted to delivering the world’s energy. Each lane is restricted to trucks that carry one of the world’s seven large-scale sources of primary energy: coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear, hydro, solar and wind. Our current energy security comes at a price, the carbon dioxide emissions from the … Continue reading The biggest engineering challenge