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Lack of high-quality water

Why is the lack of high quality water a problem for hydrogen production?
Close up of a water drop being dropped into a test tube
© Deakin University

Water usage is a significant challenge for hydrogen production.

The production of green hydrogen requires large amounts of high-quality water, however the long-term access to water can pose a significant challenge. Managing the available water supply in a sustainable manner is a key issue, where the water demand for hydrogen production must be balanced with other essential water demands such as for agriculture, drinking water or environmental water requirements.

Also, not all regions have a consistent and reliable supply of water, such as arid areas where water resources are scarce or in areas that are prone to droughts that may disrupt water supply. This reliability of water supply will also be influenced by climate change, where it is expected that the climate will get hotter, drier and more variable.

The quality of the available water can also be an issue. Various water supplies could be used, such as desalinated seawater or recycled water, however in some cases the water may be too contaminated or impure to use in the electrolysis process. Green hydrogen can only be produced from high-quality water. This can lead to increased costs as the water will require additional treatments.

There are several public debates over water use in relation to hydrogen, highlighted in the following two articles For Australia to lead the way on green hydrogen, first we must find enough water and Community consultation key to green hydrogen success.

Your task

Do you think the water usage issue could prevent the uptake of hydrogen in the clean energy transition?

References

Harris, C (16 February 2023) Community consultation key to green hydrogen success, Australian Water Association.

Lester, R, Gunasekera, D, Timms, W and Downie, D, (21 December, 2022) For Australia to lead the way on green hydrogen, first we must find enough water, The Conversation Australia and New Zealand.

Lester, R, Gunasekera, D, Timms, W and Downie, D, (2022) Water requirements for use in hydrogen production in Australia: Potential public policy and industry-related issues, Centre for Regional and Rural Futures, School of Engineering, Deakin University.

Viva Energy, (1 March 2022) Hydrogen transport future for Geelong.

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

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