ABC (Australia) - - NEWS -

JUST WHEN ELECTROMOBILTY was steal­ing all the pas­sen­ger car, bus and gen­eral public trans­port lime­light, hy­dro­gen could be pinch­ing a lot of it back in the clean-fuel game given the CSIRO’s – Aus­tralia’s na­tional sci­ence agency – suc­cess­ful re­fu­elling of two fuel cell ve­hi­cles, with mas­sive po­ten­tial for a new hy­dro­gen pro­duc­tion and ex­port in­dus­try.

As re­ported by the Com­mon­wealth Sci­en­tific and In­dus­trial Re­search Or­gan­i­sa­tion (CSIRO), its chief ex­ec­u­tive, Larry Mar­shall, was one of the first to ride in ve­hi­cles (a Toy­ota Mi­rai and Hyundai Nexo) pow­ered by ul­tra-high pu­rity hy­dro­gen, pro­duced in Queens­land, us­ing CSIRO’s mem­brane tech­nol­ogy.

This tech­nol­ogy will pave the way for bulk hy­dro­gen to be trans­ported in the form of am­mo­nia, us­ing ex­ist­ing in­fras­truc­ture, and then re­con­verted back to hy­dro­gen at the point of use, it’s stated. It has the po­ten­tial to fill the gap in the tech­nol­ogy chain to sup­ply fuel-cell ve­hi­cles around the world with low-emis­sions hy­dro­gen sourced from Aus­tralia, the or­gan­i­sa­tion claims.

The 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, it’s stated. 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, ac­cord­ing to the CSIRO.

Re­cent ad­vances in so­lar and elec­tro­chem­i­cal tech­nolo­gies mean re­new­able hy­dro­gen pro­duc­tion is ex­pected to be­come com­pet­i­tive with fos­sil fuel-based pro­duc­tion, pro­vid­ing an op­por­tu­nity to de­car­bonise both the en­ergy and trans­port sec­tors while cre­at­ing new ex­port op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Dr Mar­shall is 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,” Cur­rie said.

Fol­low­ing this suc­cess­ful demon­stra­tion, the tech­nol­ogy will be in­creased in scale and de­ployed in sev­eral larger-scale demon­stra­tions, in Aus­tralia and abroad, it’s stated.

The project re­ceived AUD$1.7 mil­lion from the Sci­ence and In­dus­try En­dow­ment Fund (SIEF), which was matched by CSIRO.

In ad­di­tion to its mem­brane tech­nol­ogy, the CSIRO is ap­ply­ing its ex­per­tise to all stages of the hy­dro­gen tech­nol­ogy chain (in­clud­ing so­lar pho­to­voltaics, so­lar ther­mal, grid man­age­ment, wa­ter elec­trol­y­sis, am­mo­nia syn­the­sis, di­rect am­mo­nia util­i­sa­tion via com­bus­tion and/or fuel cells, as well as hy­dro­gen pro­duc­tion).


As re­ported by na­tional broad­caster www.abc.net.au, Hy­dro­gen Mo­bil­ity Aus­tralia CEO Claire John­son said use of hy­dro­gen as a trans­port fuel is be­ing recog­nised glob­ally as a so­lu­tion to re­duc­ing green­house gas emis­sions and the world’s re­liance on fos­sil fu­els.

“Hy­dro­gen-pow­ered ve­hi­cles, in­clud­ing buses, trucks, trains, fork­lifts as well as pas­sen­ger cars are be­ing man­u­fac­tured by lead­ing au­to­mo­tive com­pa­nies and de­ployed world­wide as part of their ef­forts to de­car­bonise the trans­port sec­tor,” she said.

John­son said 15 mem­ber com­pa­nies are com­mit­ted to de­vel­op­ing a hy­dro­gen re­fu­elling sta­tion net­work across Aus­tralia, along with two pi­lot sites in­clud­ing a por­ta­ble re­fu­elling truck and sta­tion in Syd­ney.

“In par­al­lel, lo­cal and state gov­ern­ments have also com­mit­ted to build hy­dro­gen re­fu­elling in­fras­truc­ture with sta­tions set to come on­line in the next 12 to18 months,” she said.

“... an op­por­tu­nity to de­car­bonise both the en­ergy and trans­port sec­tors ...”

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