Comcar fleet should be Australian-built vehicles powered by hydrogen
Using solar/wind power this process is inexpensive but shipping hydrogen (even in liquid form) over large distances and by sea poses safety issues and can be costly. However, by using renewable energy to combine the hydrogen gas with atmospheric nitrogen the chemical compound ammonia can readily be made.
Why do this? Well, transportation of liquid ammonia provides a far higher hydrogen density (i.e. greater energy per litre) than liquid hydrogen alone, shipping is safer, and at final destination, the hydrogen can be readily separated using a new technique developed by the CSIRO, called “membrane technology”.
This technology presents a real “game-changer” in the expanded use of hydrogen as an energy source globally, and places Australia in the enviable position of becoming a major exporter largely due to our abundance of solar energy.
As we already ship liquid ammonia from production plants in WA’s Pilbara, the infrastructure is there to ship “renewable” liquid hydrogen (within ammonia) cost effectively to energy hungry destinations such as Japan and South Korea. Renewable hydrogen is destined to power our future economy in numerous ways and contribute significantly to the moderation of global warming.
Hyundai and Toyota are leading the charge in emission free hydrogen-powered vehicles using fuel cell electric technology with Hyundai Motor Group committing $9.3 billion towards hydrogen fuel-cell investments. Their executive vice-chairman says: “We will play a pivotal role in the global transition to clean energy by making hydrogen an economically viable energy source”. Hyundai estimates hydrogen-powered vehicle production will reach 2 million vehicles per annum by year 2030.
Sadly, our federal ministers have watched over the decline, then death of our car manufacturing industry now to be followed by the demise of our government (Comcar) fleet of Australian-built Holden Caprice vehicles.
Imported replacement vehicles being considered by Comcar include, BMW, Mercedes Benz, Toyota and Hyundai.
Whilst we see Theresa May proudly glide by in a British built luxury Jaguar XJ, we will soon see our unimaginative conservative politicians pass by in very expensive, luxury, German built BMWs or Mercedes Benz vehicles, at great cost to we taxpayers. Could not the Comcar fleet have remained as Australian-built vehicles powered by hydrogen? Yes, if vision prevailed, but with this golden opportunity squandered maybe the best we can now hope for now is to see Hyundai vehicles using hydrogen fuel-cell technology making up the Comcar fleet reflecting at least some evidence of modern Australian manufacturing content and expertise.
The choice of hydrogen powered Hyundai vehicles would represent a considerable cost saving to tax-payers, gain strong visibility globally, show support for our technological achievements and give impetus to our new emerging Australian ‘renewable hydrogen’ industry from which we all can benefit enormously.
Ian Cooper, California Gully
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