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Infrastructure and competition

What is the infrastructure and competition of hydrogen?
Modern house with hydrogen storage tank and solar panels
© Getty Images

Building the infrastructure required to support a hydrogen economy is a significant challenge.

The development of a hydrogen economy requires significant infrastructure investments to produce, store and distribute hydrogen. This infrastructure includes hydrogen production plants, pipelines, storage facilities, and refuelling stations for hydrogen-powered vehicles. Building all the necessary infrastructure will be expensive and it must be built on a large scale.

Whilst existing infrastructure exists, it is typically designed for alternative fuels, such as natural gas, and modifications are likely to be required for it to be compatible with hydrogen. These factors could slow down the adoption of hydrogen technologies, making them less economically viable compared to other low-carbon alternatives.

Competition from other low carbon technologies

Due to the pressing need for alternative fuels, there is a lot of research into other low carbon technologies. While this is positive from a move to more sustainable energy environment, they provide competition to hydrogen as an alternative fuel source. In addition to potential investment, it also includes competition of the physical energy required for sourcing Green Hydrogen itself using renewables, competition of routes for transport and transmission and competition for storage space and locations.

A primary example is the competition with the use of batteries and electrification, particularly in certain applications like passenger cars. Whilst hydrogen fuel cell vehicles have advantages such as longer range and faster refuelling times, electric vehicles are becoming adopted more regularly in Australia and the associated infrastructure is much more established.

For example, as of 2022 there are over 80,000 electric vehicles on Australian roads and nearly 5000 public charging stations (vehicles can also be charged at home). In comparison, in 2022 there were only two public hydrogen refuelling stations in Australia (Melbourne and Canberra), with a small number under construction. Only a small number of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are on road however they can only be leased and will not be sold to the public until the supporting infrastructure is developed.

Your task

Reflect on the competition from low-carbon technologies. Do you think hydrogen can be used alongside the competition as an option in the suite of technologies or do you think hydrogen can lead the way to break away from the competition as the best option?


Electric Vehicle Council (n.d.) Australian EV Charger Map (n.d.) List of hydrogen stations in australia

© Deakin University
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The Role of Hydrogen in the Clean Energy Transition

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