Evaluation of hydrogen as a fuel for bulk agricultural drying equipment

November 17th, 2023

R&D Focus Areas:
Technology integration process improvement, Industrial heat processes

Lead Organisation:

Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and Agri dry Dryers Pty Ltd.


Start date:
July 2023

Completion date:
July 2027

Key contacts:
Dr Nawshad Haque: Nawshad.Haque@csiro.au

CSIRO iPhD Program

Project total cost:

Project summary description:
Drying is a well-known process in the field of chemical engineering that involves the transfer of both mass and heat. There are different drying systems available in the literature for different products. Thermal drying is known to be an energy-intensive process typically relying on fossil fuels like natural gas or coal for heat generation. Therefore, the industrial thermal drying process used for various grains significantly contributes to the emission of greenhouse gases.

To meet the energy demands of the drying industry and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, green hydrogen fuel can serve as a promising clean energy alternative to fossil fuels, either as a blend or in its pure form. Hydrogen has a higher fuel value per unit mass compared to natural gas, but its low volumetric energy density may require larger combustion chambers in heat plants.

Ongoing research and development efforts aim to design improved grain drying process that can fully utilize hydrogen in industrial heat plants. However, further research is required to understand the limitations and reveal all aspects of application, particularly in the drying sector of the agricultural industry.

Developing a new dryer and its operating strategies is not a standardised procedure; instead, designers rely on mathematical models, experimental findings, and their own expertise to create innovative dryers.

This PhD project aims to develop and test a grain dryer prototype using hydrogen as an alternative fuel.

An in-depth review of the current state-of-the-art regarding the utilisation of hydrogen as an alternative heating fuel source in grain drying for conventional air dryer products will be undertaken. This research will involve the development and validation of a mathematical model for drying of a selected range of products using established chemical and process engineering methodologies such as different types of CFD models and heat and mass balance concepts.

These models will be used to establish drying system design and optimisation of that system while utilising hydrogen as the fuel source. To assess the feasibility and benefits of this application, a prototype design of the hydrogen fuel assisted drying system will be designed at the end of the project.

The anticipated outcomes of this study will be new equipment designs and the optimization of operating conditions, such as temperature, humidity, and airflow, while considering the specific properties of the product for hydrogen combustion process.

 Related publications and key links:

Higher degree studies supported:
One PhD student is supported by this project.


November 2023