Green Hydrogen is produced by splitting water with electricity, via electrolysis, using power from renewable energy sources, such as hydroelectricity, wind and solar. Significantly, it produces no greenhouse emissions.
Our Engineering and Mathematics alumni are working hard on making the switch, with Dr Jeremy Harris (GradDipASOS Hons 1991, PhD 1997) and Engineering alumnus Cranston Polson (BE2000, MEngSc 2003) already directing companies in this space.
“Harking back to my climate modelling (during my PhD), the writing was on the wall for moving to a net-zero carbon world. I started to think about what the transition was going to require, and what the future would look like,” Jeremy said.
123V, the company Jeremy directs and founded along with a team that includes Cranston, is involved in the Australian Research Council (ARC) Training Centre in Energy Technologies for Future Grids.
One of the important projects in this Centre is investigating integrating electrolysers, which drive the process of splitting water to create hydrogen, into electricity grids.
Jeremy and Cranston are also using hydrogen as a replacement for diesel for heavy transport vehicles, such as the Hydrogen Metro bus planned for use in Tasmania.
Ultimately the projects Jeremy is keen to develop will include not just the manufacture of hydrogen, but its storage (hydrogen can be used as a replacement to batteries, storing the excess renewable energy produced at times of high supply), as well as delivery and end-use.
Raised on Tasmania’s west coast, Cranston says his Engineering degree was extremely hands-on and set him up well for putting into practice tangible solutions for clean energy.
“It was old-school stuff, the nitty-gritty that helps you understand what is behind how something works. One of our professors made us design an aeroplane wing in an exam,” Cranston said.
“I grew up fixing things, so I was always going to be someone who worked with their hands.”
In 2009, Cranston founded H2H Energy, an energy company focused on engineering design and hydrogen refuelling station manufacture, along with day-to-day operations and maintenance of hydrogen-related equipment. He has also set up a company, H2H Advantage, training people for the new industry.
“I believe hydrogen facilitates an extremely broad array of solutions for decarbonising energy, from micro- to multi-megawatt fuel cells, heating, cooking and transport, hydrogen can cover the full gamut – and do it sustainably!" Cranston said.
“Not many places have the combination of Hydro and wind resources that Tasmania has,” he said.
“The renewable infrastructure is in place and the industry is set to expand – it’s a huge opportunity for Tasmania.”
Written by Katherine Johnson for Alumni Magazine Issue 53, 2022.
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Top of page: Engineering alumnus Cranston Polson with a Green Hydrogen bus. Image: Patrick Hamilton.