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Hydrogen cars and electrolysers: the dawn of Australia's hydrogen economy?

The hydrogen economy has been a long time coming. The use of hydrogen as a replacement energy source for oil and gas has been talked about since the early 1970s when the term was first coined by an engineer at General Motors in the US.

It still hasn’t really arrived. And doubters remain. They point to the heavy infrastructure needed to support the technology, the huge amount of energy it consumes, and wonder how it can compete with the falling costs of wind and solar energy, and the surging interest in electric vehicles (EVs) .

Ironically, it is those very factors that are making the idea of a hydrogen economy appealing again. Wind and solar provide cheap energy, EVs are perfecting the drive trains [the power delivery system from engine to wheels] that hydrogen cars will use, and there have been significant technology breakthroughs making the hardware needed to make hydrogen much more cost-competitive.

Now it appears that in Australia, the hydrogen economy is going to have its first home in the Australian Capital Territory. Having put in place the architecture and the contracts to ensure that the equivalent of 100% of the electricity needs are sourced from wind and solar by 2020, the Labor government in the ACT is looking at how that clean energy can be used for transport and heating.

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