ABC: Hydrogen Fuel Breakthrough

From the ABC, good news about a real competitor to petrol driven cars, hydrogen. Electric cars really aren’t a starter once you get outside the major cities, but a car fuelled by hydrogen with a range of 800 km and a re-fuel time similar to petrol is a real possibility.

Hydrogen fuel breakthrough in Queensland could fire up massive new export market

 

Two cars powered by hydrogen derived from ammonia will be tested in Brisbane today thanks to a Queensland breakthrough that CSIRO researchers say could turn Australia into a renewable energy superpower.

CSIRO principal research scientist Michael Dolan said it was a very exciting day for a project that has been a decade in the making.

“We started out with what we thought was a good idea, it is exciting to see it on the cusp of commercial deployment,” he said.

For the past decade, researchers have worked on producing ultra-high purity hydrogen using a unique membrane technology.

The membrane breakthrough will allow hydrogen to be safely transported and used as a mass production energy source.

“We are certainly the first to demonstrate the production of very clean hydrogen from ammonia,” Dr Dolan said.

“Today is the very first time in the world that hydrogen cars have been fuelled with a fuel derived from ammonia — carbon-free fuel.”

Program leader David Harris said Australia has a huge source of renewable energy — sunlight and wind — that can be utilised to produce hydrogen.

But the highly flammable element is difficult to ship long distances because of its low density.

CSIRO researchers found a way to turn Australian-made hydrogen into ammonia, meaning it could be shipped safely to the mass market of Asia.

It is converted back into hydrogen using their membrane, then pumped into hydrogen-powered cars.

As of now, there are only five such cars in Australia, but there are tens of thousands across Japan, South Korea and Singapore.

“The key here is we can transport the hydrogen from the place where it is produced from renewable energy — let’s say maybe that is in outback WA — and we can ship that form of ammonia anywhere in the world,” Dr Harris said.

‘A massive step for Australia’

Both Toyota and Hyundai have invested millions of dollars into hydrogen-powered cars.

Today’s road test will be on Hyundai’s flagship eco car the Nexo SUV, and Toyota’s Murai.

The ABC got a sneak peek at the testing station where the cars were fuelled up and given a short test at CSIRO’s Pullenvale technology hub in western Brisbane.

Hyundai spokesman Scott Nargar said the main advantage of hydrogen over electric cars was they could be filled up in three minutes like a normal car and had a range of up to 800 kilometres.

“So they are just like driving a normal car but there will be zero emissions,” he said.

“From a car manufacturer’s point of view, we see this as a massive step for Australia.

“Working in and out of South Korea quite regularly, I know Hyundai has a massive contract to provide hydrogen buses to the Korean Government.

“It just announced 16,000 hydrogen-powered cars will go on the road and 310 hydrogen refilling stations across the country under a five-year plan.

“They need to power those cars from somewhere so why can’t it be renewable hydrogen from Australia?”

Toyota spokesman Matthew Macleod said the breakthrough was exciting because it addressed one of the key challenges with hydrogen.

“It is a game-changer,” he said.

“Ammonia already has established routes for transportation and to transport at relatively normal temperatures.

“When it gets to where it is going they can actually pull the hydrogen out using the CSIRO technology, which opens up fuel cell technology to markets that previously did not have the technology.

“From an energy perspective, the ability to move solar energy or wind energy from one place to another using ammonia opens up doors that previously would have been closed because of the difficulties of transporting hydrogen.”

Australia’s next export boom

The CSIRO team has already received expressions of interest from Japan, South Korea and Europe, with industry players looking at taking up supplies initially to fuel commercial vehicles like buses, taxis, trucks and trains.

Dr Dolan said a million hydrogen-powered cars were expected to hit the streets by 2025.

Currently hydrogen-fuelled cars sell for about $80,000, but, as with electric cars run on power-grid charged batteries, the price is expected to fall as production increases.

Mr Nargar said they expected to see price parity with petrol and diesel cars within a decade.

Dr Dolan said the cost for the fuel would be around $15 a kilogram, with an average car holding five kilos of pure hydrogen in a tank.

“But the efficiency of the car is twice as good as current gasoline cars, so you can actually drive twice as far on a tank,” he said.

Dr Dolan said renewable hydrogen was seen as Australia’s next export boom.

“It could potentially rival our LNG export industry,” he said.

“As of this year Australia is the world’s biggest natural gas exporter. Hydrogen could be in the same position in the next couple of decades.”

Hydrogen-powered cars could be on sale in Australia with the next two years.

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An Oldie but a Goodie

Remember the days when we could laugh about white racism and urban aboriginal culture without people taking offence? And you could get the message across with subtlety, so you didn’t actually subject your audience to apartheid and preach at them? Well if you’re in your 60’s you might.

Here’s a skit from “Fast Forward” when comedy was both funny and edgy without the swears.

Update on My Health Records

On July 25th I shared about my decision to opt out of the My Health Digital Health Record system.

The Federal Government has now announced (August 1st) that it will be passing legislation in Parliament to ensure that records can only be accessed by police and other government agencies by means of a court warrant.

A win for democracy!

The Straw Man Argument

With the latest environmental hysteria gaining traction to ban plastic straws (as usual both irrational and unscientific) here is a graph that puts Australia’s plastic pollution in perspective:

Yeah, we don’t even make the top 12.

You may have also heard about the incredible figure of 500 million plastic straws used by Americans every day. It turns out that came from a science project by a 9 year old boy. That doesn’t prove it is wrong, just lacking in academic rigour because most 9 year olds have not been trained in the scientific method (much like most adult environmentalists)

Euthanasia-Laws About Consent Are No Protection

As the demands for “right to die” laws ramp up in Australia, keep this incident in mind, because the always say “There is no slippery slope.”
From Lifesitenews.com:

Elderly Woman Resisted Being Euthanized When She Saw the Needle, So Her Family Held Her Down

A Dutch doctor who was rebuked for killing an elderly dementia patient without consent and in a traumatic manner has been given a formal reprimand by the Dutch medical complaints board, and may now face criminal charges.

Worldwide horror

The case involved a woman in her seventies, who was placed in a care home after her dementia became so advanced that her husband could no longer cope with care at home. She was distressed and frightened, and after a few weeks, the doctor at the home determined that she was suffering unbearably. He concluded that she was not mentally competent, but that an earlier statement in her will that she wanted euthanasia “when I myself find it the right time”; justified killing her.

The story was greeted with horror around the world, as it emerged that the doctor drugged the victim’s coffee, and had her family hold her down as she tried to fight off the lethal injection. Despite the woman not being mentally competent to consent to being killed, a review panel cleared the doctor of all charges.

No consent given

Now, the Dutch medical complaints board has formally reprimanded the unnamed doctor -the first case in which a practitioner has been formally censured since the Netherlands made it legal for doctors to kill patients at their request in 2002.

The board said that the woman’s will was contradictory, and that although she said she wanted to die on some days, on others she did not. She had written an ‘advance directive’ asking to be killed if her dementia became too severe, but whenever the issue of asking to die was raised, she also added: “Not now, it’s not so bad yet”. The board found that the doctor should have discussed the fact that a sedative was put in her coffee – which did not happen – and only carried out euthanasia if she agreed.

Read the rest of the story here

Opting Out of the Digital Health Record

big-brother

The Australian Government is introducing a digital health record where all of your health information is stored in one location accessible to all health professionals. On the face of it, this is a great idea. Hospitals, GPs and specialists will be able to see the full story of your health.

My mother-in-law in her later years required a huge number of medications and was under the care of several specialists who did not talk to each other. Consequently she sometimes became ill from the interactions of the drugs with each other.

The My Health Record would have prevented suffering for her and for many other people with chronic health conditions.

But the Government could not leave it there as a service to individual citizens and to the health service. No, they had to use it as a backdoor to spy on our personal data. So numerous agencies have access to your health records regardless of their need to provide health services.

Agencies which can access personal health records include The Australian Tax Office, Centrelink, State and Territory Police Forces, the various crime commissions, the Agency that runs the NDIS and many more.

I am not a huge privacy nut. If you want to know about my haemorrhoid, my blood pressure (controlled nicely by medication), or the prostate infection I had 20 or so years ago, I will happily tell you. That’s my choice.

I will not have nosy public servants having access to my information without my consent, just because they have an interest or they think I might be defrauding them. If they think a crime may be committed, for example by people on sickness benefits, then they should gather evidence and apply for a warrant.

This is yet another “Big Brother” exercise by the Government under the guise of helping the people.

If they rescind the ability of agencies that are not health related, then I will be in it.

You can opt out at http://www.myhealthrecord.gov.au

UPDATE

The Federal Government announced on August 1st that it will legislate to ensure that health records can only be accessed by other agencies after obtaining a court warrant. A win for privacy! After the legislation is passed, I will be opting in.