Hydrogenation/de-hydrogenation using catalytic static mixers in flow reactors

December 7th, 2021

R&D Focus Areas:
Ammonia; Liquid organic carriers; Mobility

Lead Organisation:

Precision Plating, Advanced Carbon Engineering


Start date:

Completion date:

Key contacts:
John Chiefari – john.chiefari@csiro.au
Christian Hornung – christian.hornung@csiro.au

H2ES FSP, GrapheneX, Precision Plating, Nufarm, CSIRO ResearchPlus CERC Fellowships, SME Connect – Business Researcher Placement (with PP) & Kick-start (GrapheneX), CSIRO Manufacturing BU Strategic Funding

Project total cost:

Project summary description:
CSIRO has demonstrated the utility of catalytic static mixers (CSM) for hydrogenation and dehydrogenation reactions for use in chemical manufacturing, hydrogen storage and hydrogen generation on demand. The benefit of the CSM approach pioneered by CSIRO addresses key technical and environmental concerns by enabling improved control over reaction parameters, reducing industrial waste and tailoring upscale processing to reduce investment and infrastructure costs.

A key benefit of the CSM dehydrogenation technology is the flexibility in the footprint of the hydrogen generation unit, which could be engineered for on-board applications (shipping, large industrial vehicles), movable units/community-based units (remote communities, mining, fuelling stations) to larger generation units. The project leverages the multi-disciplinary expertise available at CSIRO in flow chemistry, static mixer technology, catalyst development and deposition/coating knowhow to create a new generation of structured catalytic devices for the generation of hydrogen from LOHCs or ammonia.

Technology Commercialisation:
The technology is now being commercialised for a wide range of (de-)hydrogenation applications with CSIRO’s partners, including Precision Catalyst, Merck Millipore Sigma and Advanced Carbon Engineering. Precision Catalyst is manufacturing and selling CSMs and CSM reactor systems for use in chemical manufacturing and energy applications (https://precisioncatalysts.com.au/), and Merck Millipore Sigma is distributing CSMs in their chemicals & catalysts catalogue. CSIRO’s LOHC dehydrogenation work has transitioned from a low TRL, strategically funded activity into a $10M fully industry funded project with our partner Advanced Carbon Engineering (see CSIRO press release: https://www.csiro.au/en/news/all/news/2023/may/csiro-launches-10m-project-to-build-australias-first-movable-hydrogen-generator)

International Research Collaborations:
Over the past months, CSIRO has established strong collaborative networks with world leading research institutes and industry partners in the area of LOHC technology development. Exchange of visiting scientists on the topic of chemical hydrogen storage is currently underway between the newly formed Sustainable Hydrogen Economy Institute at FZ Juelich (https://www.fz-juelich.de/en/inw), the University of Erlangen, Germany and CSIRO Manufacturing, Clayton. In collaboration with the German RIs, the CSIRO team is now seeking new (bilateral) funding opportunities and application opportunities in Germany and Australia for joint LOHC technology development.

Technology Development:
The team has reached proof of concept using the CSM technology for ammonia cracking. Agreements with global catalyst suppliers were signed recently to test a selection of new commercial ammonia cracking catalysts using CSIRO’s CSM technology; these experiments are currently underway. The CSIRO team is also actively pursuing commercial opportunities for the CSM ammonia cracking technology for applications in the manufacturing and marine transport sectors.

Related publications and key links:

  1. Chiefari J., Hornung C.H.; “Mobile hydrogen reformers as a novel approach to decarbonise the transport sector”, Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering, Vol. 34,100756, (2021)
  2. Hornung C.H., Nguyen X., Carafa A., Gardiner J., Urban A., Fraser D., Horne M., Gunasegaram D.R., Tsanaktsidis J., Organic Process Research & Development 2017, 21, 9, 1311–1319, DOI: 10.1021/acs.oprd.7b00180
  3. Lebl R., Zhu Y, Ng D, Hornung C.H., Cantillo D., Kappe C.O., Catalysis Today, 383,55-63, DOI:10.1016/j.cattod.2020.07.046.
  4. Kundra M., Grall T., Ng D., Xie Z., Hornung C.H., Ind. Eng. Chem. Res. 2021, 60, 5, 1989-2002, DOI: 10.1021/acs.iecr.0c05671
  5. Kundra M., Zhu Y., Nguyen X., Fraser D., Hornung C.H., Tsanaktsidis J., Reaction Chemistry & Engineering 2021, published online, DOI: 10.1039/D1RE00456E

Higher degree studies supported:
This project supports a post-doctoral fellow (Deepali Arora) at CSIRO, now in its 3rd year.  This PDF project has so far resulted in two provisional patent applications filed in May 2022.


Reviewed: November 2023