September 27, 2023

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Reshaping Australia’s Energy Landscape with Portable Hydrogen Generators

Image Credits: CSIRO, Press Release

CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, is spearheading a ground-breaking initiative aimed at reshaping the country’s energy landscape and assisting in achieving its net zero emissions target by 2050. This transformative project entails the development of a portable device capable of generating hydrogen on-site, a pioneering approach in Australia.

Dr Vicky Au, Deputy Hydrogen Industry Mission Lead at CSIRO, emphasised that the forthcoming project would be the first of its kind in Australia, employing domestic technology to produce hydrogen from a liquid carrier. This initiative directly addresses significant hurdles currently impeding the growth of the hydrogen sector.

The immense potential for Australia to emerge as an energy powerhouse through hydrogen was highlighted, underscoring the need to develop improved methods for the safe transportation and storage of hydrogen on a large scale.

The portable generator unit being developed will play a pivotal role in advancing the hydrogen industry by facilitating the efficient delivery of hydrogen to end consumers. Its compact design will enable it to be easily transported and deployed in various locations, such as farms, festivals, industrial facilities, and mine sites. The critical collaboration between industry and research in delivering the necessary solutions for a sustainable future.

Dr John Chiefari, a researcher at CSIRO, highlighted the pivotal role of CSIRO’s patented catalytic static mixers in the development of the innovative hydrogen generator. These catalytic static mixers are specialised tools that efficiently blend fluids, accelerating and enhancing chemical reactions without the need for any moving parts. This exceptional level of control ensures high scalability without the typical technical complexities associated with such processes, providing a distinct advantage over conventional packed bed reactor technology.

It was further explained that the technology for incorporating hydrogen into a carrier fluid is already established. The new hydrogen generation system being developed will enable localised and on-demand production of hydrogen from the carrier fluid while benefiting from the safe storage capabilities comparable to conventional fuels like diesel or petrol. This advancement represents a significant leap forward, aiming to store hydrogen fuel in standard tanks and use existing infrastructure designed for diesel or petrol management.

The CEO of Advanced Carbon Engineering, expressed the company’s commitment to fostering national capabilities through crucial research, enabling ground-breaking discoveries, and nurturing emerging industries. He noted that innovation plays a crucial role in shaping the future of humanity. It drives progress, fuels economic growth, addresses challenges, unlocks new opportunities, and ensures a sustainable future for generations to come.

The project forms a crucial component of CSIRO’s Hydrogen Industry Mission, which aims to contribute to global decarbonisation efforts by establishing a commercially viable hydrogen industry within Australia.

Australia’s National Hydrogen Strategy outlines the significant economic and environmental benefits associated with a clean hydrogen industry. By 2050, the strategy envisions the creation of 16,000 jobs related to the hydrogen sector, alongside an additional 13,000 jobs stemming from the construction of renewable energy infrastructure that supports hydrogen production.

The development of Australian hydrogen production, both for domestic use and export purposes, has the potential to generate over $50 billion in additional GDP by 2050. Moreover, it could lead to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to one-third of Australia’s current fossil fuel emissions by the same year. These figures underscore the immense potential and positive impact of a thriving hydrogen industry in Australia.


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