We've developed a metal membrane to extract pure hydrogen from ammonia, paving the way for a new export market.

The challenge

Transporting the fuel of the future

The growing global demand for clean hydrogen fuel represents a significant opportunity for the establishment of an Australian renewable hydrogen export industry. Hydrogen could one day power vehicles and industry around the world, but due to its low density, it is notoriously difficult to transport.

Our response

Ammonia as the carrier

Graphic showing ammonia molecules passing through a membrane to become hydrogen molecules.

Decomposed ammonia passes through CSIRO’s metal membrane to produce pure hydrogen.

One way of overcoming limitation is to convert hydrogen to ammonia, piggybacking existing transport infrastructure - the financial and technical barriers to using ammonia as a hydrogen carrier are low.

CSIRO's research addresses the conversion of ammonia back to high-purity hydrogen at, or near, the point of use. Membranes are a thin layer of metal which allows hydrogen to pass, while blocking all other gases. By coupling membranes with a suitable catalyst for ammonia decomposition, we can efficiently extract pure hydrogen from ammonia.

The results

A two-year research project

Through this two-year project we will develop and demonstrate a hydrogen production system, incorporating CSIRO-developed membrane technology, to deliver at least five kg/day of hydrogen, directly from ammonia.

The research has also been welcomed by industry and is supported by BOC, Hyundai, Toyota and Renewable Hydrogen Pty Ltd.

This research is supported by the Science and Industry Endowment Fund .

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