February 21, 2024

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UoW-developed Hydrogen Tech Commercialised

Image Credits: UOW, Press Release

A company spun out of the University of Wollongong (UoW) to commercialise breakthrough Australian hydrogen electrolyser technology, officially opened its doors today with $5 million in funding led by a British-based Intellectual property firm, with support from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC).

The company is developing a new hydrogen electrolyser that has the potential to significantly shift the economics of green hydrogen production, bringing the Australian Government’s $2/kg target within reach.

The technology has been proven at lab-scale and the company, which has strong scientific, engineering and commercialisation experience, is now focused on developing and commercialising a full-scale system. The firm is based at UOW’s Australian Institute for Innovative Materials.

Electrolysers, which use electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen, are the key technology for producing green hydrogen. The electrolyser is based on breakthrough Australian technology developed by a team from the UOW headquartered ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES), led by chemical catalysis and characterisation expert Professor Gerry Swiegers.

Professor Swiegers has an outstanding track record in commercialisation, as the inventor of over 50 patent families and the founder of six start-ups, which have received an estimated $100 million in investment.

Inexpensive green hydrogen is needed for the decarbonisation of multiple industries to put Australia on a path to net-zero by 2050. Years of work from a great team at the University of Wollongong, along with great facilities and government funding are coming to fruition in a company that has the potential to have a global impact, he added.

The Head of Physical Sciences at the Australian branch of the IP firm and the Interim CEO at the tech company stated that the firm represents a once in a lifetime opportunity to reshape an industry. “I’m delighted to be working with Professor Swiegers and the team at the University of Wollongong to bring this technology to market. This will have an impact both economically and environmentally on our path to net-zero” he said.

The Managing Director of the IP firm’s Australian arm noted that they have been looking globally for new technology that can unlock the trillion-dollar opportunity in hydrogen. He added that the UOW spin-off firm’s technology is truly world-leading and that the IP group looks forward to helping the team in their mission to make green hydrogen a reality for Australia and the world. These developments are based on significant fundamental research that is taken from the translational pathway by a team with technical and commercial skills fully integrated.

The UOW Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research & Innovation) noted that the innovative technology developed by Professor Swiegers and his team exemplifies the University’s ambition to deliver fundamental research that leads to impactful change. “UoW’s research and innovation strategy is focused on creating knowledge for a better world, underpinned by our prioritisation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which include the goals of affordable and clean energy, and climate change mitigation,” he said.

Green hydrogen is widely acknowledged to be a crucial part of reaching net-zero emissions globally, with the potential to meet up to 20 per cent of energy demand in a net-zero global economy. It enables deep decarbonisation of hard-to-abate sectors, with potential applications including steel, heavy transport, shipping, aviation, chemicals, seasonal storage in the electricity sector, and gas grids.

It also presents an enormous economic opportunity, with the global demand of trillions of dollars expected by 2050. Hydrogen and derivatives like ammonia represent a multi-billion-dollar export opportunity for Australia, due to its excellent renewable energy resources, ample land and established status as a leading energy exporter.

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