Australian Hydrogen Research Network (AHRN) – latest news

February 15th, 2022

New ARC-funded Projects were announced at the end of 2021. Congratulations to those who were successful in securing research funds:

• Dr Alexander Klimenko (UQ) – General systems modelling of hydrogen production network in Australia.• Prof Moses Tade (Curtin) – Advanced Proton-Conducting Ceramic FCs for Power Generation from Ammonia• Associate Professor Zhenguo Huang (UTS) Novel hydrogen-rich liquids for storing and transporting hydrogen at scale.• Professor Stefan Iglaue (Edith Cowan) – Improved hydrogen geological storage via zeta potential measurements.• Professor Pathegama Ranjith (Monash) – Large-scale and long-term storage of Hydrogen in underground reservoirs• Professor Chuan Zhao (UNSW) – Anion Exchange Membrane Water Electrolysis for Clean Hydrogen Production• Dr Jian Pan (UNSW) – Solar powered water splitting/flow cell system for hydrogen and electricity• Professor Jianqiang Zhang (UNSW) – Corrosion of heat resisting alloys in steam/hydrogen-rich environment• Professor Benjamin Hankamer (UQ) – Light-driven biocatalytic cell factories• Associate Professor Tianyi Ma (Swinburne) – Monolithic Solar Thermal Photocatalytic Membrane for Hydrogen Production

Newcastle University has announced it will extend its partnership with BHP, and a further $10m, for a hydrogen research project aiming to decarbonise the steelmaking process.

For this, the expanded research programme will focus on low carbon iron and steelmaking using BHP’s iron ore and metallurgical coal, including conventional blast furnace ironmaking with the addition of hydrogen. The collaboration, with funding from BHP’s $400m Climate Investment Program, will last five years.

Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) has announced that it will take a 20% stake in Sparc Hydrogen Purity (Sparc Hydrogen). Sparc Hydrogen has taken an interest in exploiting photocatalytic hydrogen production technology that has arisen from a collaboration between the University of Adelaide and Flinders University. Most photocatalytic process only absorb from a relatively small proportion of the solar spectrum (principally at the UV end) whereas the South Australian development claims to capture more of the solar energy, and therefore yield a higher solar conversion efficiency.

BP Australia is undertaking a feasibility study into the production of green hydrogen at the site of the Kwinana refinery in WA. It will work on the project in partnership with Macquarie Capital and with funding from the Western Australian government. The company plans to repurpose the site as a clean energy hub, “which will include the production of renewable fuels,” it said. BP also said it was “already underway with plans to develop a renewable fuels plant at the site, producing sustainable aviation fuel and renewable diesel.” BP announced its plan to shut the refinery in October 2020 and wind down refining activities over the following six months. Refining activities were completed by March 2021.

Hyundai Motor Company Australia recently announced its investment in a new hydrogen refuelling station (HRS) at its Macquarie Park headquarters in Sydney. The facility will replace the company’s existing HRS which has been operating since 2014 and has been used to dispense hydrogen to a variety of vehicles including those of competitors.

The Tasmanian Government has signed its second memorandum of understanding on green hydrogen with a European body within two months. The agreement was signed with the region of Flanders in Northern Belgium, the first to be signed by the region.

The Smart Energy Council has announced ActewAGL’s hydrogen refuelling station in Canberra has been certified with renewable green hydrogen produced from 100 percent renewable energy and with zero carbon emissions. This marks the first project to be certified under the Councils certification scheme that has been developed with support from Industry and collaboration with Japan and Germany. The second project to be nominated for certification is the Yara’s planned green ammonia plant in the Pilbara which is expected to be certified by July 2022.