Catalyst development for hydrogen production from ammonia: on-site heat and power generation

June 21st, 2022

R&D Focus Areas:
Ammonia, Industrial feedstock processes

Lead Organisation:

Local SME (EDEN BDM) and overseas partner (Korea Zinc)


Start date:
July 2021

Completion date:
June 2024

Key contacts:
Woo Jin Lee:
Karen Kozielski:

Strategic project (CSIRO funded)

Project total cost:
Project value approximately AUD$130,000

Project summary description:
To supply hydrogen for energy generation, ammonia cracking/decomposition at scale can be a feasible decarbonising pathway as it only produces hydrogen and nitrogen. Ammonia is a versatile hydrogen carrier since it can provide the following benefits:

  • Second largest commodity chemical in the world-established supply infrastructure.
  • High gravimetric and volumetric density of hydrogen.
  • Zero carbon fuel – decarbonising agent for the future.
  • Australia has significant green ammonia production potential.

The cracking process is performed with a conventional nickel-based catalyst, which requires high temperature reaction conditions. Precious metal-based catalysts like ruthenium have been reported but their high cost deters industrial interest at large scale. Thus, this project aims to develop novel catalysts to enable the cracking process at milder conditions without ruthenium.

Based on a IP landscaping study (as of October 2023), a new window for creating IP in relation to catalyst composition has been identified. This will enable the current project to proceed into the next phase – catalyst design and evaluation in a rig that has been upgraded to simulate the ammonia cracking process (at laboratory scale). If successful, it is anticipated that CSIRO will engage with industrial partners to demonstrate the technology at larger scale.

Related publications and key links:
Not applicable.

Higher degree studies supported:
Not applicable (a 4th year student is engaged to support).


Reviewed: October 2023