The bygone year has been one of the most gruelling and challenging most of us have ever experienced. Many parts of Australia suffered severe drought and other parts experienced flood conditions. Devastating bushfires claimed many lives and destroyed thousands of buildings. It is impossible to know the extent of the toll on native wildlife and farm animals but scientists estimate nearly 3 billion animals would have either been killed or displaced. During the course of the year northern Australia experienced damaging tropical cyclones and, as if that wasn’t enough, the first case of COVID-19 to reach Australia was detected in January 2020. As the virus spread across Australia, it claimed over 900 lives. Whilst this number of deaths is horrifying, both Australia and New Zealand implemented strong containment policies which were aided by our island nation status. Many other countries have seen human tragedy on a far greater scale with the confirmed global death toll now exceeding 2 million, however, the actual toll is likely to be considerably higher. Governments around the world are all still grappling with the challenges we face in repairing the social and economic damage caused by the pandemic.
Whilst not downplaying the grievances and hardships experienced by so many, I believe there are grounds for optimism as we commence 2021. COVID-19 vaccines have been developed in record time and are currently being rolled out in countries around the world. Economies are gradually recovering and new jobs are being created.
Climate scientists around the world advise that the extreme weather-related events experienced in Australia and other parts of the world last year are as a result of climate change. They have warned that if the global community fails to take effective action, we can expect more frequent and more severe weather events.
Following the recent inauguration of President Biden, it is encouraging to see the new administration appears to be taking the climate change challenge seriously and will propose a $2 trillion climate change agenda. It has also moved to recommit the United States to the Paris Agreement — the internationally binding treaty to combat climate change. This is a significant step given that the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), estimates the US is responsible for 15 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. To date, the European Union, Japan and the Republic of Korea, and now the USA, along with 110 other countries have pledged carbon neutrality by 2050, and PR China claims it will do so by 2060.
On the 23rd January 2021 there was another encouraging sign when Dr Andrew (Twiggy) Forrest AO, Chairman of Fortescue Metals Group Limited (FMGL) delivered the first Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Boyer Lecture for 2021, entitled “Oil vs Water: Confessions of a Carbon Emitter”. In his lecture Dr Forrest outlined his belief that the use of “green hydrogen” as a substitute for fossil fuels can not only provide a way forward in the climate change challenge but create a major “green hydrogen” export industry that would create thousands of Australian jobs. Dr Forrest explained that his company, FMGL, recently embarked on a plan to become one of the world’s largest green energy and product businesses.
What does all this mean for those of us in the gas industry? These developments herald exciting times and will offer up great opportunities – so out of the gloom and desperation of 2020, there is good reason for optimism. There are already a number of trials underway to produce green hydrogen which would be blended with reticulated natural gas. If enough green hydrogen can be produced as is planned by FMGL, green hydrogen can eventually replace reticulated natural gas and coal for electricity generation.
In the gas industry, hydrogen will almost certainly be our fuel of the future,initially blended with natural gas and eventually as 100% hydrogen. Whilst some work is being done to establish what percentage of hydrogen in the natural gas supply existing appliances can tolerate, eventually appliances will need to be designed to operate solely on hydrogen.
This is where AGA can help!
Last year AGA opened its hydrogen testing laboratory to assist AGA Members and client companies to assess the hydrogen compatibility with existing appliances or new generation hydrogen-ready appliances and components. Many AGA Members have already taken advantage of this facility to position themselves at the forefront of appliance development in readiness for the gas industry’s fast approaching hydrogen era.
There are many reasons for optimism and, as 2021 unfolds, all of us at AGA hope you enjoy good health and remain safe and we look forward to working with you in the coming year.
Chris Wealthy, Managing Director & CEO
The transition to the new LPG cylinder connection is fast approaching and manufacturers and suppliers should by now have submitted Applications to update the affected Certifications.
It is imperative to have the Certification process started, in particular for the cylinder connection, as potential wait times for laboratory testing could delay the process of updating Certifications and ultimately availability to market.
The deadlines are a few months away and are outlined in our October 2020 NewsFlash – CLICK HERE TO REVIEW.
If you have any questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact your AGA Client Manager.
AS/NZS 2658 (LP Gas – Portable and mobile appliances) is open for public comment until the 15th February 2021*
*Note: The date was extended from 4th January 2021
If you would like to submit any comments, you may forward them to our Group Manager, Technical Operations, Mr Bill Tabourlos [email@example.com], or directly through the Standards Australia website: Click Here