MCH Research Tests

September 22nd, 2020

MCH Research Tests

This ‘proof of concept’ research project involved the production and export of ‘green’ hydrogen to Japan (in early 2019) via a substance called methyl cyclohexane (MCH); more recently, scaled-up MCH production process testing has occurred.

Lead participants:

Queensland University of Technology (QUT)


Research and development



In progress

Estimated cost:


Research partners:

Eneos (Japan)

Main supply chain category:

Whole supply chain


Queensland, Australia

Announced funding:


Research description

In March 2019, it was announced that QUT and Japanese petroleum conglomerate JXTG (now known as Eneos) has taken part in a ‘proof of concept’ research project involving the production and export of ‘green’ hydrogen to Japan.

The proof of concept test involved combining proprietary technology owned by Eneos with QUT’s solar power facilities at Redlands. The Eneos researchers used QUT’s 30 kW Concentrated Photovoltaic (CPV) array as well as a standard 3 kW Si-PV array also operating at Redlands.

The green hydrogen was created by adding water and acid to a chemical called toluene in an electrochemical process using solar energy. The toluene was converted into a substance called methyl cyclohexane (MCH) using the Eneos process powered by QUT’s solar arrays.  MCH has the look and feel of oil and can be transported using conventional means such as road tankers, pipelines and tankers.

More recently, Eneos and QUT have undertaken a higher-scale electrochemical treatment of toluene powered by renewable energy to produce MCH. This 10x scale-up of the process has provided valuable process detail on MCH production rates that enable engineering design of a future full-scale pilot plant planned to be located in Queensland.

Once shipped to Japan, the MCH is converted back to toluene and the hydrogen extracted for use in a fuel cell or vehicles. The toluene is then available for re-use in the transportation cycle.


This description was reviewed by the lead research participant in August 2020.