To fully take advantage of the hydrogen fuel cell technologies, SA needs a viable, decentralised, retail hydrogen supply plan.
How this will impact Adelaide's carbon emissions
Reducing carbon seriously requires large scale adoption of electric cars. Numerous large multinational companies, including Toyota, are producing cars that run on hydrogen fuel cells. This is their preferred carbon free technology over battery driven cars. These fuel cell engines are capable of also being used as domestic energy production systems, providing sufficient power to run a home, day and night, all year around. This makes them more viable than wind or solar.
Historically the limit to hydrogen has been its storage and handling given it is a low density gas at room temperature and pressure. However, as reported in top science journals, formic acid offers a viable ‘liquid at room temperature’ medium which easily releases its hydrogen when passed over room temperature and pressure catalysts. Thus formic acid provides a ‘petrol like’ liquid that can be used to supply hydrogen to hydrogen fuel cells engines. Formic acid is a mild acid with handling characteristics similar to petrol. Using formic acid, hydrogen fuel cell cars are refuelling using similar systems to delivering petrol and diesel.
Therefore, the adoption of hydrogen fuel cell engines in SA will depend on the easy supply of formic acid, in volume, both to cars and to domestic units. The entrepreneurial opportunity is to design a South Australian centric system for the supply of environmentally sensitive formic acid. If well designed, the system may provide an export opportunity. It needs to take advantage of local skills, plant, infrastructure and natural resources.
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