Hydrogen Process Research and Development

February 22nd, 2022

R&D Focus Areas:
Whole supply chain, Energy systems integration, Computational modelling

Lead Organisation:
Queensland University of Technology (QUT)

Swinburne University of Technology (SUT), University of Tokyo, Sumitomo Electric Industries, Griffith University (GU), Energy Developments Limited, CS Energy, Sumitomo Australia Pty Ltd, Queensland Government, Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA)


Start date:
August 2018

Completion date:
Milestone 3: Estimated October 2023
Estimated end date: December 2024 (All HDR completions)

Key contacts:
Professor Ian Mackinnon – ian.mackinnon@qut.edu.au
Project Manager – Michelle Gane (02/2018 – 02/2023)
Academic Lead Pilot Plant – Associate Professor Jonathon Love

AUD$3.65 million – Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA)
AUD$2.96 million – Industry
AUD$0.97 million – Universities
AUD$0.25 million – Queensland Government

Project total cost:
AUD$9.1 million in combined cash and in-kind contributions

Project summary description:
This research project seeks to develop a scalable and systematic process to evaluate the viability of decentralised and regional-scale renewable energy hybrid systems to generate hydrogen from sustainable resources.

The research will provide experimental validation and integrated modelling of a hybrid renewable energy process that utilises solar power, energy storage and non-potable water to produce, store, and use hydrogen.

The research will utilise two commercially available solar array technologies and battery packs to power treatment of non-potable water and electrolysis of treated water to produce hydrogen for re-use within the facility and for export. The project includes the construction of a pilot plant at the Queensland Government’s Redlands Research Facility south of Brisbane, Queensland.

Energy will be drawn from a Concentrated Photovoltaic (CPV) array at the Redlands facility which QUT has been testing in a separate joint project with Japanese company Sumitomo Electric Industries (and which is a partner in this research). This energy would be supplemented by commercially available Si-PV arrays to generate up to 50kW of solar to a pilot plant microgrid.

This microgrid will support control and operation of solar power for storage of energy in battery packs and for production of hydrogen from treated water using different types of electrolysers. The hydrogen is then fed into a fuel cell and back into the local grid to re-supply power to the local system and associated technologies.

Data compiled from this pilot plant will then be used to validate optimisation models for enterprise level prediction of hybrid renewable energy systems to produce and use hydrogen from non-potable water.

Other aspects of this research include development of a next generation higher energy density battery pack, higher efficiency alkaline electrolysers and microbial electrolysis for production of hydrogen.

More details on the research objectives and reports can be found at the ARENA website for this project.

Related publications and key links:

  1. Hashtroudi, P. Atkin, I.D.R. Mackinnon and M. Shafiei, “Low-operating temperature resistive nanostructured hydrogen sensors,” International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 44, 26646-26664, 2019.
  2. Hashtroudi, R. Savub, R. Kumar, S. Moskalev and M. Shafiei, “Hybrid two-dimensional nanostructured hydrogen gas sensors,” Proc. SPIE Micro+ Nano Materials, Devices, and Applications, Melbourne, Australia, December 11201, 112010X, 2019.
  3. Atkin, H. Hashtroudi, I.D.R. Mackinnon and M. Shafiei, “Nanotechnology enabled hydrogen gas sensing,” Proc. Int. Conf. on Hydrogen Safety, Adelaide, Australia, September pp. 1-10, 2019.
  4. Hashtroudi, I.D.R. Mackinnon, M. Shafiei, “Emerging 2D hybrid nanomaterials: Towards enhanced sensitive and selective conductometric gas sensors at room temperature,” Journal of Material Chemistry C, 8, 13108-13112, 2020.
  5. Md Abu Sayeed, J. Heron, J. Love and A.P. O’Mullane, “Activating Iron Based Materials for Overall Electrochemical Water Splitting via the Incorporation of Noble Metals” Chemistry-an Asian Journal, 15, 4339–4346, 2020.
  6. Md Abu Sayeed, C. Woods, J. Love and A.P. O’Mullane,“Electrochemical Synthesis of a Multipurpose Pt-Ni Catalyst for Renewable Energy-Related Electrocatalytic Reactions” ChemElectroChem, 7, 4369–4377, 2020.
  7. Hashtroudi, R. Kumar, R. Sava, S. Moshkalev, G. Kawamura, A. Matsuda and M. Shafiei, “Hydrogen gas sensing properties of microwave-assisted 2D hybrid Pd/rGO: Effect of temperature, humidity and UV illumination,” International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 46 7653-7665, 2021.
  8. Jenkins, J.A. Alarco and I.D.R. Mackinnon, Synthesis and Characterization of a Novel Hydrated Layered Vanadium (III) Phosphate Phase K3V3(PO4)4·H2O: A Functional Cathode Material for Potassium-Ion Batteries, ACS Omega, 6(3), 1917-1929, 2021.
  9. Zhang, J.A. Alarco, M. Khosravi and I.D.R. Mackinnon, Nanoscale differentiation of surfaces and cores for olivine phosphate particles –a key characteristic of practical battery materials, J. Phys. Energy: Topical Review, 3, 032004, 1-11, 2021.
  10. Boulaire, F., J. Love and I. Mackinnon, An adaptive renewable energy plant (AREP) – To power local premises and vehicles with 100% renewables, Energy Strategy Reviews, 38, 100703, 1-12, 2021.
  11. Jenkins, T., J.A. Alarco, B. Cowie and I.D.R. Mackinnon, Validating the electronic structure of vanadium phosphate cathode materials, ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 13 (38), 45505-45520, 2021.
  12. Mohammadshahi, S.S., F A. Boulaire, J.G. Love, S.A. Gorji and I.D.R. Mackinnon, A Flexible Analytical Model for Operational Investigation of Solar Hydrogen Plants, International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 47, 782-808, 2022.
  13. Hashtroudi, H., R. Savu, R. Kumar, S. Moshkalev, G. Kawamura, A. Matsuda, M. Shafiei, Hydrogen gas sensing properties of microwave-assisted 2D hybrid Pd/rGO: Effect of temperature, humidity and UV illumination, International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 46, 7653-7665, 2021.
  14. Ali, S., A. Gupta, M. Shafiei, S.J. Langford, Recent advances in perylene diimide-based active materials in electrical mode gas sensing, Chemosensors, 9, 30, 2021.
  15. Ali, S., M. A. Jameel, A. Gupta, S. Langford, M. Shafiei, Capacitive humidity sensing performance of naphthalene diimide derivatives at ambient temperature, Synthetic Metals, 275, 116739, 2021.
  16. Ali, S., M. A. Jameel, C. J. Harrison, A. Gupta, R. A. Evans, M. Shafiei, S. J. Langford, Enhanced capacitive humidity sensing performance at room temperature via hydrogen bonding of cyanopyridone-based oligothiophene donor, Chemosensors, 9, 320, 2021.
  17. Ali, S., M. A. Jameel, G. Oldham, A. Gupta, M. Shafiei, S. J. Langford, Enhancement in room temperature ammonia sensing properties of naphthalene diimides through core expansion, Journal of Materials Chemistry C, 10, 1326-1333, 2022.
  18. Ali, S., M. A. Jameel, C. J. Harrison, A. Gupta, M. Shafiei, S. J. Langford, Nanoporous naphthalene diimide derivative for humidity and ammonia sensing at room temperature, Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical, 351, 130972, 2022.
  19. Love, J.G., A.P. O’Mullane, F.A. Boulaire and I.D.R. Mackinnon, Impact of fuel cells on hydrogen energy pathways in a Sustainable Energy Economy, Sustainable Energy and Fuels, 6, 4008-4023, 2022. [included in showcase collection on Hydrogen Energy Technologies for 2022 by the Royal Society of Chemistry].
  20. Jenkins, T., J.A. Alarco, B. Cowie and I.D.R. Mackinnon, Regulation of surface oxygen activity in Li-rich layered cathodes using band-alignment of vanadium phosphate surface coatings, Materials Chemistry A, 10, 24487-24509, 2022. [included in a special collection “2022 HOT Journal of Materials Chemistry A”].
  21. H. Hashtroudi, A. Yu, S. Juodkazis, M. Shafiei, “Ultra-sensitive photo-induced hydrogen gas sensor based on two dimensional CeO2-Pd-PDA/rGO heterojunction nanocomposite,” Nanomaterials, 12, 1628, 2022.
  22. T. S.K. Thathsara, C. J. Harrison, R. Hockings, M. Shafiei, “Photoactive semiconducting metal oxides: Hydrogen gas sensing mechanisms,” International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 47, 18208-18227, 2022.
  23. H. Hashtroudi, A. Yu, S. Juodkazis, M. Shafiei, “Two-dimensional Dy2O3-Pd-PDA/rGO nanocomposite: synergistic effect of hybridisation and UV illumination on hydrogen gas sensing,” Chemosensors, 10, 78, 2022.
  24. Rezaei, M., A. Akimov and E. MacA. Gray, “Economics of solar-based hydrogen production: Sensitivity to financial and technical factors”, International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 47, 27930-27943, 2022.
  25. Arthur, T., G.J. Millar, E. Sauret and J. Love, Renewable hydrogen production using non-potable water: Thermal integration of membrane distillation and water electrolysis stack, Applied Energy, 333, 120581, 2023.
  26. Donald, R. and J.G. Love, Energy shifting in wastewater treatment using compressed oxygen from integrated hydrogen production, Journal of Environmental Management, 331, 117205, 2023.
  27. Jenkins, T., J.A. Alarco, B. Cowie and I.D.R. Mackinnon, Direct spectroscopic observation of the reversible redox mechanism in A3V2(PO4)3 (A=Li, Na) cathode materials for Li-ion batteries, Journal of Power Sources, 571, 233078, 1-10, 2023.

Media releases identifying this project include:

  • QUT media: “QUT leads new hydrogen pilot plant” – October 5th, 2018.
  • Manufacturer’s Monthly: “Queensland celebrates first shipment of green hydrogen to Japan” – March 29th, 2019.
  • QLD Govt Ministerial: “Queensland’s first Hydrogen Envoy announced in Japan” – June 3rd, 2019.
  • QLD Govt Ministerial: “Boost for renewable hydrogen research in the Redlands” – December 19th, 2019.
  • Redland City Bulletin: “Redlands plays hydrogen research role” – January 4th, 2020.
  • Channel 7 News: “Qld academic wants hydrogen to power north” – February 5th, 2020.
  • The Australian: “Queensland offers hydrogen as solution to Europe’s energy crisis” – November 19th, 2020.

The list above is not exhaustive but indicative.

Higher degree studies supported:
One PhD thesis was awarded in 2022, one PhD thesis was examined and approved in April 2023, one PhD student commenced in late 2020, and one PhD student commenced in QTR 3, 2021.


Updated: June 2023