THP-E125: Can Smaller Scale Economies Like Tasmania Flip The Global Energy Script With Hydrogen?

June 27, 2022 • Paul Rodden • Season: 2022 • Episode: 125

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Welcome to The Hydrogen Podcast!

In episode 125, Reuters give some insight on the Australia Tasmania hydrogen market and a hydrogen hypercar makes its official debut on this on today’s hydrogen podcast.

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Paul Rodden



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Start Here: The 6 Main Colors of Hydrogen


Reuters give some insight on the Australia Tasmania hydrogen market and a hydrogen hypercar makes its official debut on this on today’s hydrogen podcast. So the big questions in the energy industry today are, how is hydrogen the primary driving force behind the evolution of energy? Where is capital being deployed for hydrogen projects globally? And where are the best investment opportunities for early adopters who recognize the importance of hydrogen? I will address the critical issues and give you the information you need to deploy capital. Those are the questions that will unlock the potential of hydrogen, and this podcast will give you the answers. My name is Paul Rodden, and welcome to the hydrogen podcast.

In an article in, Clyde Russell writes green hydrogen maybe energy’s future, but it’s complicated. He writes, green hydrogen is often touted as the future of energy, providing a flexible and zero emission fuel for transportation and electricity generation. The problem is how long it will take for that future to become reality. An example of the immense challenges facing a hydrogen future can be neatly encapsulated by looking at Tasmania Australia’s island state that is seeking to become a global leader in producing and exporting green Hydrogen. Hydrogen can be initially confusing as a veritable color palette is used to describe the various ways the fuel is produced. Green hydrogen is being made using electrolyzers powered entirely by renewable energies, such as wind and solar. This sets it apart from Blue hydrogen, which is also touted as a clean energy, but it’s produced by using natural gas with carbon capture and storage. Gray hydrogen is made from natural gas but without the carbon sequestration, while black and brown hydrogen is made using coal. Now just to briefly pull away from this article to reassert the fact that there aren’t many more technologies out there besides green, and blue.

And really what we should start thinking of as green is anything with a low no or even negative carbon impact instead of looking at the feedstock or energy source utilized to make the hydrogen. The author continues by saying Tasmania has several advantages when it comes to getting a jumpstart in producing green hydrogen. Its electricity grid is 100% renewable, with the main power provider Hydro Tasmania having a generation capacity of about 2.6 gigawatts, which is more than double what it typically provides to the grid at any given time. On top of that, there are also operating wind farms and plans to add another three gigawatts of new turbines. And adding to this is the proposed Marinus link, which is two new connector cables to mainland Australia with a capacity of one and a half gigawatts. If this development goes ahead, it will allow hydro Tasmania to proceed with upgrading existing power stations to boost output, as well as building a pumped hydro scheme to utilize cheap excess solar generation during the day to store water for use during demand peaks. The one thing that delegates to the Tasmanian Energy Development Conference held this week in northern town of Devonport was that the stars are aligned for the state to become a green hydrogen powerhouse. What is less certain is how all the various moving parts are going to fit together. And the likelihood is that building a new industry from scratch is going to take considerably longer than many of the project proponents expect. Creating a green hydrogen hub in Tasmania will likely to prove far more complex than the new massive expansion of Australia’s LNG sector over the past decade, with more than $200 billion invested to make the country the world’s largest producer of the super chilled fuel.

While the LNG projects are complex and involves multiple layers of approvals that were generally undertaken by a major oil and gas company, with partners providing capital or sales purchase agreements for Tasmania to fulfill its green hydrogen potential will take numerous companies working together to build renewable generation grid expansions and new connections electrolyzers and new capabilities at the port of Bell Bay, where most of the plan projects are likely to be located. And not only do these various players have to come together and agree on terms, then they have to align their developments so that all the assets are ready to move at more or less the same time. And this brings us to the scaling challenge. Currently, there are some major players looking at investing in Tasmania, including Woodside Energy, and Fortescue future industries, which is a subsidiary of iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Group.

Woodside is planning to build a 300 megawatt electrolyzer plant to produce green hydrogen and ammonia targeting and fid next year. If it goes ahead that will exhaust the current spare electricity available, which means really only one project can get up before new generation and transmission capacity is installed. Taz Networks the state owned grid operator has had expressions of interest for about six gigawatts of electricity from various hydrogen project proponents. A figure which a company official said was beyond the capability of Tasmania to provide. And so even if all three gigawatts of proposed wind generation is built, it will only result in about 1.35 gigawatts of additional power being available, given a capacity factor of about 45%. For wind, this amount of available electricity would produce just under 1 million tons of hydrogen or ammonia per year, which is a sizable volume but still pales in comparison to Australia’s annual LNG output of around 80 million tonnes for hydrogen to reach the scale where it is a viable alternative to Australia’s coal or LNG exports, the investment in renewable generation and storage solutions is going to have to be massive, as well as hugely complex. Okay, so Tasmania, now looking to get into the hydrogen export game. And so let’s take a look at the potential or viability of this project actually getting completed. Now, there are two hurdles that are water electrolysis hydrogen project always has to overcome. The first is economics.

And that is that it is extremely expensive to electrolyze water, but Tasmania already has a surplus of electricity generation. And my guess is that right now, that surplus is being wasted. And so if Woodside does go through and build that 300 megawatt electrolyzer plant, that would be a good use of the extra surplus currently being made. The second point is the necessity to use clean water. Now, a lot of green hydrogen projects that are being announced right now are located in arid environments. And while you can desalinate seawater, it is extremely expensive and just adds to the cost of the green hydrogen. But in this case, Tasmania has a lot of fresh water. And so that shouldn’t play into a factor with this either. And one thing I can tell you firsthand is that a couple of weeks ago, I was speaking at Woodside Energy in Houston, Texas, and they are very interested in the hydrogen industry. And so when this article says that they are planning to build an electrolyzer plant in Tasmania, I would say that does have a very good shot of being developed. But there is an elephant in the room and this article does cover it, and that is Australian LNG.

And LNG globally has seen massive investments and infrastructure being built up over the last 10 years. And so with that being said, maybe Australia doesn’t need this hydrogen or the electricity that could be generated from it. But that doesn’t mean that Tasmania, Fortescue future industries and Woodside should disregard this opportunity. There is going to be a massive shortage of ammonia globally for the foreseeable future. And the potential for developing green ammonia and shipping it around the world could redefine Tasmania as a global exporter of ammonia. And lastly, just to update you on some news that I released back in January, and that’s the Viritech Apricale 1000 horsepower hypercar has finally made its official debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. And so why does it matter that I’m talking about a hydrogen hypercar? Well, it’s not in the relevance that a hypercar has been introduced at the Goodwood Festival of Speed that happens every year. But the technology and hydrogen application in this car is very important. And the unique fully customized designs that they’ve put into the powertrain and power applications of this car will trickle down to roadgoing consumer cars to not only elevate their performance, but will probably also ultimately decrease costs. So then what is it about the Apricale that makes it so special? Well, the first is that it’s 1000 horsepower, or roughly 750 kilowatts. But even more special than that is its weight, which promises to come in at just under 1000 kilograms.

And so when we’re talking about electric vehicles, a HyperCar that weighs under 1000 kilograms is unheard of. And this is where hydrogen really gets its chance to shine. And that’s an EV market. Because if we’re just talking about power delivery, the Apricale is roughly on par with the F 150 Lightning. Now the lithium battery pack and an F 150. Lightning raised roughly 850 kilograms, while the lithium battery pack in the Apricale was 97 kilograms. This is because in a fuel cell EV, you can use the hydrogen to continually recharge that battery And something else that makes this car so special is that when new technology is getting introduced, you need a flagship vehicle to promote the technology. And for electric cars, that was Tesla, but the fuel cell EV market just hasn’t seen that kind of vehicle, and the Apricale can fit that bill. And really just as important as this technology filtering down to future fuel cell vehicles, it can also be applied into the aerospace market, marine market and distributed power industries.

Alright, that’s it for me, everyone. If you have a second, I would really appreciate it. If you can leave a good review on whatever platform it is that you listen to Apple podcasts, Spotify, Google, whatever it is, that would be a tremendous help to the show. And as always, if you have any feedback, you’re welcome to email me directly at And as always, take care. Stay safe. I’ll talk to you later.

Hey, this is Paul. I hope you liked this podcast. If you did and want to hear more. I’d appreciate it if you would either subscribe to this channel on YouTube, or connect with your favorite platform through my website at Thanks for listening to very much appreciate it. Have a great day.