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Hydrogen Technologies to Power Singapore’s Energy Needs

Image credits: nus.edu.sg

The Centre for Hydrogen Innovations (CHI), a new research centre founded by the National University of Singapore (NUS), aims to develop ground-breaking technologies that will make hydrogen commercially viable as a renewable energy source.

The Centre will leverage on expertise from NUS in education, research, and entrepreneurship to provide thought leadership, cutting-edge science and technologies and foster collaborations to catalyse breakthroughs and innovations in the global hydrogen economy.

– Professor Liu Bin, Director, Centre for Hydrogen Innovations

Due to its demonstrated effectiveness as an energy carrier and low carbon footprint when used, hydrogen has been identified as a source of alternative energy. High costs, however, continue to be a significant obstacle to the widespread use of green hydrogen as a climate solution.

Nine cutting-edge initiatives in hydrogen-related research will be hosted by CHI to start, with each project getting up to S$250,000. These research initiatives will concentrate on developing game-changing technologies linked to establishing a hydrogen economy in Singapore, such as infrastructure and compounds that can be used as hydrogen transporters.

Moreover, ammonia is recognised to be a potent carbon-free fuel and an efficient hydrogen carrier. However, there are technological challenges in the process of hydrogen extraction from ammonia. The team from the NUS College of Design and Engineering’s (NUS CDE) Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, led by Associate Professor Yan Ning, will work to create more environmentally friendly and energy-efficient processes for hydrogen extraction from ammonia.

Associate Professor Wang Qing together with his team from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, NUS CDE has developed a type of redox-flow battery system that can combine electricity storage and hydrogen production through specially formulated chemicals, powered by renewable energy sources like solar.

Their goal is to increase local on-demand production of hydrogen. This enables reliable electricity storage and hydrogen production. The latter might power Singapore’s electrical system or be used to recharge electric vehicles.

Assistant Professors Lum Yanwei and Wang Lei from the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, NUS CDE are leading yet another inventive initiative. They will research how to skip the stage of extracting hydrogen from water to create hydrogen gas and instead convert hydrogen directly from the water into a high-energy-density liquid hydrogen carrier with their teams. This might avoid the expenses and safety risks related to storing, transporting, and using hydrogen.

To lower the price of green hydrogen for a hydrogen economy, CHI is also working with organisations and industry leaders locally and worldwide to bring these cutting-edge research and technologies to market.

Utilising a wide range of knowledge, including those of science, engineering, social sciences, and the humanities, from many entities at NUS, CHI will be pursuing a comprehensive approach to address technological and infrastructural issues in enabling a hydrogen economy.

Singapore might have to import hydrogen from the local market due to its limited solar and water resources. To assure cost-effectiveness and maintain the affordability of downstream commercial applications of hydrogen, CHI seeks to perform cost analysis and supply chain analyses of imports.

The Centre will also investigate cutting-edge technologies for local hydrogen production using procedures like electrolysis of water and methane pyrolysis powered by solar energy as a sustainable energy source, to protect national energy security in the event of supply chain interruptions.

CHI will offer training programmes through NUS to ensure that there is enough knowledge and qualified employees with the necessary skills and knowledge in the various aspects of a hydrogen economy.

Additionally, the Centre will work with the NUS community to create effective safety laws, risk assessments, and policies that will support the secure implementation of novel hydrogen technologies.

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