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Project to turn hydrogen into a powder for easy export gets A$5 million in funding

A Curtin University project that proposes turning hydrogen into a powder so that it can be safely exported has been awarded A$5 million (USD 3.2 million) in funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA). 

Developed in partnership with Velox Energy Materials, the Kotai Hydrogen Project will use a new method of hydrogen production and transportation developed by Curtin’s Hydrogen Storage Research Group (HSRG). 

“Our aim is to provide a circular hydrogen export value chain,” Craig Buckley, head of the HSRG, said in a media statement. “The initial research component of the project will feed into the commercial stage, where a pilot facility will be designed and built in Perth to evaluate the technology for large-scale production directly from renewable electricity.” 

Hydrogen has long been identified as a clean energy source, however, there are challenges in transporting it affordably and practically. One established method is using sodium borohydride powder as a carrier, however, it isn’t popular because the by-product left behind, known as sodium metaborate, has always been expensive to recycle. 

The HSRG research team is developing a new, renewable way of exporting hydrogen as a powder, which is safer and cheaper than other methods. Their chemical process and catalyst have the potential to quickly and cheaply revert sodium metaborate back to sodium borohydride, enabling it to be reused to transport hydrogen. 

“The lower costs attached to this method’s production and transport could make it potentially the cheapest means of exporting hydrogen from Australia,” Buckley said. “This method could play a part in meeting the rapidly rising global demand for Australian hydrogen.” 

Curtin and Velox Energy Materials will contribute an additional combined cash commitment toward the overall project. 

“We’re backing Australian technological innovation that helps build our clean industries and underpins our ambitions of becoming a renewable energy superpower,” ARENA’s chief executive officer, Darren Miller, said. “Through our strategic priorities, we have highlighted the importance of renewable hydrogen and low emissions metals growing to become a significant export industry. Innovation starts in the lab and we have the best minds taking our decarbonization efforts to the next level.” 

Source: MINING.COM – Read More