Our Research in Next-Gen Production

New approaches are required if cost-effective, large-scale, low-emissions hydrogen value chains are to be realised, or if hydrogen systems are to become commonplace in the Australian context. Early FSP research efforts will focus on science supporting step-changes in efficiency and cost of low-emissions hydrogen production processes, with a focus on novel pathways or technologies.

There is potential for strong science impact activities in conjunction with some foundation work for new technology development, with applications in remote area power systems, mining applications, or small-scale, low cost refuelling applications. This thinking reflects some Australian-specific challenges, and allows the FSP to ensure that integration possibilities down the track are considered at this early stage.

Our Current Activities

Photolytic Perfect Photoabsorbers

The technology roadmap predicts that large amounts of hydrogen will be produced by photoelectrochemical processes. By removing the need for an electricity generation step in solar electrolysis, this project aims to improve the efficiency and lifetime of perfect photoabsorbers for water splitting and to determine the viability of scaling this technology to commercial levels.

Project lead for more information: Noel.Duffy@csiro.au

Solid State Compression

Hydrogen compression is a key link in the H2 value chain. The energy penalty, and complex, unreliable hardware associated with compression is a major contributor to the cost of dispensed hydrogen. Furthermore, these issues have to date precluded non-commercial applications like in-home refuelling.

This latter point is a key differentiator between battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and (FCEVs). Home recharging is inexpensive and routine for BEVs, and this has no doubt promoted their deployment in domestic and fleet applications. The current absence of a low-cost home H2 refuelling technology will continue to limit FCEV deployment in these applications, especially in the absence of a widespread commercial refuelling infrastructure.

Project Lead for more information: Ashleigh.Cousins@csiro.au

Electrochemical Compression

Some of our early pathfinder work showed how electrochemical processes could be used to remove hydrogen from nitrogen and/or methane mixtures and produce a hydrogen stream at high pressure. We have taken this finding and developed a project that can produce hydrogen at higher pressures (i.e. develop an efficient way to compress pure hydrogen) and operate on gas streams with a high moisture content (i.e. dry and compress). This technological pathway offers the potential for low-cost compression, drying, and purification — and interestingly, could well be suited to the removal of hydrogen from natural gas pipelines, enabling the low concentration injection of hydrogen into the gas network as an effective means for widespread storage and utilisation.

Project Lead for more information: Christopher.Munnings@csiro.au

Developing Concepts

Cost and efficiency remain key challenges to overcome as we look to the use of renewable hydrogen in a range of domestic and export applications. We’re also working on developing some new projects which consider some novel new materials pathways that offer the potential for significant impacts.