Our Research in Novel Carrier Pathways

There are many options for direct storage and transport of hydrogen. Ammonia has emerged as a priority for Australia.

There are many options for direct storage and transport of hydrogen. Ammonia has emerged as a priority for Australia; by recognising the energy penalties associated with ‘hydrogenation/dehydrogenation’, and the potential for remote area and off-grid applications, new concepts regarding synthesis and utilisation have the potential for scientific, technological, and industrial impact in the short and long-term.

Our work is initially focussed on new pathways for ammonia production, including a broadening of the traditional science base to include a range of biological opportunities. Our plan is to broaden this to include other carriers, such as methanol, that have the potential for significant impact in the Australian context.


Direct ammonia synthesis

Perhaps the ‘holy grail’ for industrial ammonia synthesis, a low-temperature, low-pressure technology powered by renewable energy using air and water as inputs offers the chance for a significant reduction in cost of renewable ammonia. Our work is developing the required materials, catalysts, and process test facilities to demonstrate this concept and practical scale.

Dr Sarb Giddey

Principal Research Scientist, Group Leader

Direct ammonia fuel cell

CSIRO’s metal membrane technology provided the last link in the value chain for ammonia to become a carrier for exported hydrogen for mobility. By developing technologies for effective and efficient conversion of ammonia to large-scale power, the market for renewable energy export is significantly increased, and the efficiency losses for power generation are vastly improved. We are working on a direct ammonia fuel cell system for direct, efficient conversion of ammonia to power.

More information: Ani.Kulkarni@csiro.au

Hydrogen and Ammonia from Waste Streams

Product streams from urban and industrial waste treatment processes are rich in resources. We are bringing together CSIRO expertise in microbial wastewater management with that in concentrated solar thermal to provide the technological foundation for a process that can be used to produce hydrogen and ammonia from a range of waste materials. A key component to this work will be matching the needs of the biological pathways with the pre-treatment stages, and effectively using CST to offset the energy needed for this pretreatment. If successful, this work has the potential to bring our remote and regional industries to the production of renewable hydrogen.

More information: Adrian.Dawson@csiro.au

Nitrogenase: Enabling Solar-Powered Ammonia

Nature uses nitrogenase as a key component of its process to fix nitrogen from the air using energy from the sun. This project brings CSIRO’s world-class nitrogenase expertise together with our work to ‘industry-proof’ enzymes using MOFs to lay the foundation for a technology that generates ammonia (and hydrogen, perhaps) using air, water, and sunshine — all at close to ambient conditions.

More information: Craig.Wood@csiro.au


Photocatalytic CO2 conversion

CO2 utilisation pathways are appealing as they offer a means by which carbon-containing chemicals such as methanol — which are likely to remain an industrial requirement even as we transition away from fosil fuels — can be produced without the need for ‘new carbon’. There are significant practical and energy barriers to realising these, however. This project hopes to address some of that by significantly reducing the cost, and increasing the efficiency, of methanol production by developing a photocatalytic technology.

More information: Yunxia.Yang@csiro.au

Liquid Hydrogen

Liquid hydrogen is about more than just getting things really cold. We’re developing some new projects in the area of liquid hydrogen which will target some fundamental aspects of the process which are currently limiting the scale and cost at which it can be achieved.

More information: Liangguang.Tang@csiro.au