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Australia’s Role in Net-Zero Hydrogen

Image Credits: University of Adelaide, Press Release
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The University of Adelaide, in collaboration with several esteemed institutions globally, is poised to play a pivotal role in the establishment of the ground-breaking Global Hydrogen Production Technologies (HyPT) Centre. This venture is dedicated to the refinement and scaling-up of hydrogen production techniques, recognised as a cornerstone in the pursuit of net-zero emissions objectives.

Within its scope, the HyPT Centre delves into three innovative technologies: renewable energy-integrated water electrolysis, methane pyrolysis with the production of valuable solid carbon co-products, and solar-driven water splitting.

Australia’s participation in this international initiative is orchestrated through the joint efforts of the University of Adelaide, Flinders University, and Curtin University. Together with research partners from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Egypt, and Germany, they aim to pave the way for large-scale net-zero hydrogen production methodologies.

Heading this mission is Professor Anton Middelberg, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) at the University of Adelaide. Expressing his enthusiasm for the collaboration, he affirmed that the University of Adelaide expresses its enthusiasm for collaborating with CSIRO and other partners in driving forward the commercialisation of transformative hydrogen production technology. Their world-class researchers are dedicated to working together to discover solutions that can contribute to the development of a more sustainable future for society.

University of Adelaide distinguished faculty member in the School of Physics, Chemistry, and Earth Sciences at the University of Adelaide, has been entrusted with leading Australia’s research contributions to the HyPT Centre. He emphasised the vital role of large-scale hydrogen production with net-zero carbon dioxide emissions, underlining its significance in achieving the climate targets outlined in the Paris Agreement and mitigating global warming.

Professor Metha will spearhead the research on photocatalysis within the new centre, focusing on innovative methods that can drive the production of net-zero hydrogen. He notes that while net-zero hydrogen holds immense potential for decarbonizing numerous energy-intensive industries, its current cost is considerably higher than hydrogen derived from fossil fuels, a hurdle that necessitates overcoming.

The HyPT Centre aims to create an international consortium consisting of 34 experts from 19 institutions across six countries. Together, they will work towards devising a cost-effective blueprint for large-scale net-zero hydrogen production, leveraging an array of complementary technologies.

In addition to Professor Gus Nathan, Director of the Centre for Energy Technology at the University of Adelaide, other Australian experts will participate in refining methane pyrolysis technology, a key focus area of the HyPT Centre. Professor Nathan highlights the significance of methane pyrolysis in that it yields hydrogen without any carbon emissions, setting it apart from conventional hydrogen production methods. Collaborating with other leading experts, their shared objective is to pioneer cost-effective and large-scale net-zero hydrogen production.

Arizona State University (ASU) spearheads the HyPT initiative, with funding support from prominent organizations including the US National Science Foundation (NSF), Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), and the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

The establishment of the Global Hydrogen Production Technologies (HyPT) Centre represents a significant leap forward in the pursuit of sustainable and environmentally responsible hydrogen production. This international collaborative effort, involving esteemed institutions from diverse corners of the globe, underscores the urgency and importance of transitioning to net-zero emissions technologies. As nations strive to meet their climate targets, the research conducted within the HyPT Centre holds the promise of unlocking innovative solutions for clean, cost-effective, and scalable hydrogen production.

The University of Adelaide, along with its Australian counterparts, is well-poised to make substantial contributions to this critical endeavour. With a commitment to advancing technology and research excellence, these institutions are dedicated to shaping a more sustainable future for society. Through their combined expertise and international collaboration, the HyPT Centre endeavours to accelerate the transition to net-zero hydrogen production, providing a vital tool in the global efforts to combat climate change.

Similarly, the Australian government, through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), pledged AU$20.9 million to support a Wollongong-based startup in scaling their hydrogen electrolyser technology for commercial use, OpenGov Asia previously reported. This initiative aligns with Australia’s commitment to hydrogen innovation. The parallel efforts of the University of Adelaide and ARENA underscore Australia’s dedication to fostering a sustainable energy future through hydrogen technology.

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