Monday 19th Nov, 2018

New technology from CSIRO makes bulk hydrogen transport more viable

Photo: energy researchers in the hydrogen lab. Credit John Nguyen Photography/CSIRO
Photo: energy researchers in the hydrogen lab. Credit John Nguyen Photography/CSIRO

A NEW technology being developed by CSIRO may pave the way for Australia to become a bulk exporter of hydrogen for use as fuel.

CSIRO chief executive Dr Larry Marshall recently was one of the first to ride in the Toyota Mirai and Hyundai Nexo vehicles powered by ultra-high purity hydrogen, produced in Queensland using the CSIRO’s membrane technology.

This technology enables bulk hydrogen to be transported in the form of ammonia, using existing infrastructure, and then re-converted back to hydrogen at the point of use.

 

Photo: Hydrogen-fuelled vehicle. Credit: CSIRO
Photo: Hydrogen-fuelled vehicle. Credit: CSIRO

 

The technology has the potential to fill the gap in the technology supply chain to supply fuel sell vehicles around the world with low-emissions hydrogen sourced from Australia.

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The way the technology works is that a membrane separates ultra-high purity hydrogen from ammonia, while blocking all other gases.

It links hydrogen production, distribution and delivery in the form of a modular unit that can be used at, or near, a refuelling station.

This means that the transportation and storage of hydrogen – currently a complex and relatively expensive process – is simplified, allowing bulk hydrogen to be transported economically and efficiently in the form of liquid ammonia.

CSIRO chief executive Dr Larry Marshall said he was excited by the prospect of a growing global market for clean hydrogen, and the potential for a national renewable hydrogen export industry, to benefit Australia.

“This is a watershed moment for energy, and we look forward to applying CSIRO innovation to enable this exciting renewably-sourced fuel and energy storage medium a smoother path to market,” he said.

“I’m delighted to see strong collaboration and the application of CSIRO know-how to what is a key part of the overall energy mix.”

BOC sales and marketing director Bruce Currie congratulated CSIRO on the successful refuelling of hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles, which proves the effectiveness of CSIRO’s membrane technology from generation, right through to point of use.

“BOC’s innovative engineering team are proud to be collaborating with CSIRO researchers on this technology breakthrough, as we focus on advancing the hydrogen economy and global transition towards clean hydrogen for mobility and energy,” he said.



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