Power to Gas – Theme Project of ARC Research Hub for Integrated Energy Storage Solutions

December 6th, 2021

R&D Focus Areas:
Direct hydrogen carrier production, Energy systems integration, Electricity

Lead Organisation:
University of New South Wales (Sydney)

ANU, ANSTO, University of Sydney


Start date:
July 2019

Completion date:
Estimated July 2023

Key contacts:
Scientia Prof Rose Amal: r.amal@unsw.edu.au

AUD$400K for this theme over 5 years

Project total cost:
AUD$5.12 million – main project cash contribution, including Australian Research Council and industry contributions

Project summary description:
Power to X (P2X) is an umbrella term for technologies that can produce clean fuels and chemicals using low-cost renewable energy and can play a key role in the energy transition towards an energy system fuelled by renewable energy sources. We are working on advanced catalytic systems for power-to-X conversion, extending the capability of fuel cell technologies and enabling complementary technology directly from renewable energy input (e.g., solar). One of the broad goals of our research is to better integrate the power and gas grids by developing efficient and cost-effective methods for converting surplus electrical power into usable gas. Activities from this project include:

  1. Water electrolysis using non-Platinum materials: The work in this area encompassed development of high efficiency water electrolysers centred on non-platinum materials. A series of cobalt-oxide catalyst for both Hydrogen Evolution Reaction (HER) and the Oxygen Evolution Reaction (OER) were designed and developed with the strategy to use the same electrode for both cathode and anode in water electrolysers to reduce the costs of electrolyser stack, subsequently improving their feasibility. In addition, the project also investigates the feasibility of hydrogen generation using renewable energy drive commercial electrolyser systems.
  2. CO2 electrolysis: The work involves in this project is to develop electrocatalyst and cell materials for CO2 electrolysis to convert waste CO2 to syngas, which can then be used as a feedstock for further chemical synthesis into value added chemicals. To date, we have developed a suite of defective metal-oxide and metal-carbon catalysts for example: using defective ZnO materials prepared using a scalable one-step synthesis process; using metal-carbon catalysts such as Ni-single atom catalysts and Cobalt encapsulated within graphitic carbon shell.
  3. Solar synthesis of methane from H2 and waste CO2: The conversion of CO2 and hydrogen to methane (often known as Sabatier reaction) is an exothermic reaction, which requires a catalyst to aid the breakdown of the stable CO2 Noble metal catalysts based have displayed very high activities for the process, but due to high noble metal cost, this has dictated the development of transition metal alternative. In this project, two works have been carried out:
    1. Light enhanced CO2 reduction to Methane (CH4) by utilising light and heat from the sun to power the catalytic reaction. Studies have been conducted to explore the effect of light of different wavelengths and intensities on nonprecious transition-metal catalysts with photo absorption with the aim to use it for the hydrogenation of CO2 to methane
    2. Low temperature CO2 methanation: In here, investigation into the synergistic effects in plasma-Ni Hybrid catalytic system with the aim to address the knowledge gap in current understanding of chemical and physical behaviours in the hybrid plasma catalytic interactions. The objective is to demonstrate plasma-driven CO2 conversions with high methane yields even at relatively low temperature (150 °C).

Related publications and key links:
Ali Khan, M. H., Daiyan, R., Han, Z., Hablutzel, M., Haque, N., Amal, R., & MacGill, I. (2021). Designing optimal integrated electricity supply configurations for renewable hydrogen generation in Australia. IScience, 24(6). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.isci.2021.102539

Ali Khan, M. H., Daiyan, R., Neal, P., Haque, N., MacGill, I., & Amal, R. (2021a). A framework for assessing economics of blue hydrogen production from steam methane reforming using carbon capture storage & utilisation. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 46(44), 22685–22706. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijhydene.2021.04.104

Daiyan, R., Lovell, E. C., Huang, B., Zubair, M., Leverett, J., Zhang, Q., Lim, S., Horlyck, J., Tang, J., Lu, X., Bedford, N. M., & Amal, R. (2020). Uncovering Atomic-Scale Stability and Reactivity in Engineered Zinc Oxide Electrocatalysts for Controllable Syngas Production. Advanced Energy Materials, 10(28). https://doi.org/10.1002/aenm.202001381

Daiyan, R., Macgill, I., & Amal, R. (2020a). Opportunities and Challenges for Renewable Power-to-X. ACS Energy Letters, 5(12), 3843–3847. https://doi.org/10.1021/acsenergylett.0c02249

Daiyan, R., Tran-Phu, T., Kumar, P., Iputera, K., Tong, Z., Leverett, J., Khan, M. H. A., Asghar Esmailpour, A., Jalili, A., Lim, M., Lovell, E., & Amal, R. (2021). Nitrate reduction to ammonium: From CuO defect engineering to waste NO<inf>x</inf>-to-NH<inf>3</inf> economic feasibility. Energy and Environmental Science, 14(6), 3588–3598. https://doi.org/10.1039/d1ee00594d

Daiyan, R., Zhu, X., Tong, Z., Gong, L., Razmjou, A., Liu, R.-S., Xia, Z., Lu, X., Dai, L., & Amal, R. (2020). Transforming active sites in nickel–nitrogen–carbon catalysts for efficient electrochemical CO<inf>2</inf> reduction to CO. Nano Energy, 78. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nanoen.2020.105213

Dong, Z. Y., Yang, J., Yu, L., Daiyan, R., & Amal, R. (2021). A green hydrogen credit framework for international green hydrogen trading towards a carbon neutral future. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijhydene.2021.10.084

Foller, T., Daiyan, R., Jin, X., Leverett, J., Kim, H., Webster, R., Yap, J. E., Wen, X., Rawal, A., de Silva, K. K. H., Amal, R., & Joshi, R. (2021). Enhanced graphitic domains of unreduced graphene oxide and the interplay of hydration behaviour and catalytic activity. Materials Today. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mattod.2021.08.003

Leverett, J., Daiyan, R., Gong, L., Iputera, K., Tong, Z., Qu, J., Ma, Z., Zhang, Q., Cheong, S., Cairney, J., Dai, L., & Amal, R. (2021). Designing Undercoordinated Ni-Nx and Fe-Nx on Holey Graphene for Electrochemical CO2 Conversion to Syngas. ACS Nano, 15(7), 12006–12018. https://doi.org/10.1021/acsnano.1c03293

Tran-Phu, T., Daiyan, R., Leverett, J., Fusco, Z., Tadich, A., di Bernardo, I., Kiy, A., Truong, T. N., Zhang, Q., Chen, H., Amal, R., & Tricoli, A. (2022). Understanding the activity and stability of flame-made Co3O4 spinels: A route towards the scalable production of highly performing OER electrocatalysts. Chemical Engineering Journal, 429. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cej.2021.132180

Zhang, Q., Zhe Ru, Z. L., Daiyan, R., Kumar, P., Pan, J., Lu, X., & Amal, R. (2021). Surface Reconstruction Enabled Efficient Hydrogen Generation on a Cobalt-Iron Phosphate Electrocatalyst in Neutral Water. ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces. https://doi.org/10.1021/acsami.1c14588

Higher degree studies supported:
Two PhD students supported based at University of New South Wales


December 2021