Monday, December 6, 2021

New Zealand researchers hope to replace fossil fuels in Antarctica with green hydrogen

A New Zealand research project is exploring ways to produce hydrogen in Antarctica to reduce carbon emissions.

The four-month New Zealand project is investigating whether hydrogen can be generated, used and stored at Scott Base, its Antarctic research facility, to reduce its dependence on carbon-based fuels. This fuel is currently used for transportation, cooking and heating. Special fuel is shipped on icebreakers.

The surplus energy from Scott-based wind turbines can be used to produce green hydrogen for hydrogen fuel cells, which produce electricity by combining hydrogen and oxygen atoms.

The Hydrogen Initiative is the result of a collaboration between Antarctica, New Zealand, a government research institution and the University of Canterbury in Christchurch. The project started in August and will end this month.

The project faces several obstacles including geographic isolation and extreme weather conditions. Antarctica is the coldest, windiest and driest continent. In 1983, a temperature of minus 89.2 degrees was recorded.

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Brandon Miller, a consultant chemist, says this is an ambitious plan.

“We would like to demonstrate that we can effectively use hydrogen as an energy source to replace fossil fuels. To do this in Antarctica is a very difficult task. But in fact, there is something, because alternatives like batteries are rather inconvenient to use for long-term storage, especially at very low temperatures, ”said Miller.

New Zealand’s work in Antarctica is heavily focused on global warming. Experts say the world’s southernmost continent is very sensitive to rising temperatures and also affects the global climate system. Earlier this year, the New Zealand government said it would spend $ 200 million to secure the future of its Scott Science Center.

Scientific projects in Antarctica are closely related, bringing together researchers from all over the world.
Twenty-nine countries, including Australia, China and the United States, have bases in Antarctica.

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