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The challenge

Reducing the complexity and cost of hydrogen transportation and storage

Transportation and storage are the critical challenges faced by the hydrogen fuel industry; the current available technologies are complex and expensive.

Our response

Fuel-cell vehicles refuelled with hydrogen derived directly from ammonia

CSIRO developed a H2 generating system that allows H2 in the form of liquid ammonia (NH3) to be transported economically and efficiently. Liquid ammonia stores 35 per cent more energy than liquid hydrogen, is easier to ship and distribute, and can use the existing logistics chains for this purpose. Our solution addresses the conversion of ammonia back to high-purity hydrogen at, or near, the point of use. This opens up the possibility for a renewable energy export market.

SIEF’s support enabled the demonstration of this concept on a 5– 15 kilogram per day H2 pilot-production scale, operating over 1,000 hours with more than 80 per cent NH3 ‘cracking’ efficiency and more than 80 per cent H2 extraction rate. The world’s first demonstration of fuel-cell vehicles refuelled with hydrogen derived directly from ammonia was held in August 2018 with two commercial FCEVs (Toyota Mirai and Hyundai Nexo).

The results

Industry partners, domestic and global partners and impact

Industry partners

  • Experimental Development Program project – co-funded by SIEF.
  • Major Project Partners – BOC, Toyota, Hyundai
  • Other Partners: Queensland Department of Environment and Science, Thomson Environmental Systems
  • Commercialisation: Subsequent to the completion of the SIEF project, an agreement was developed between Fortescue Metals Group Ltd (FMGL) and CSIRO for FMGL to provide support for the next stage of this work, which is the demonstration of a pilot-scale CSIRO H2 generator capable of producing approximately 200 kilograms per day of hydrogen.

Domestic and global application

A successful ammonia-to-hydrogen technology will play a critical role to demonstrate a viable solution. To move to a commercial undertaking, the team is developing internationally linked demonstration projects. Any longer-term outcomes will require the ability to plan and deliver these projects with our government and industrial partners.

The final step for commercialisation of this technology requires engagement with H2 and fuel cell vehicles industries that can facilitate the incorporation of commercial-scale CSIRO H2 generating system, and provide validation of the first step, for refuelling to day-to-day FCEVs for real-life customers.

The Impact

  • Establishment of a sustainable hydrogen export industry in Australia (Economic) 
  • Improved national fuel security (Economic)
  • New industries, jobs and market niches (Economic)
  • Reduction in national and global emissions across sectors (Environmental)
  • Improvements to air quality through the reduction in particulate emissions from internal combustion engine vehicles (Environmental)
  • Better health and wellbeing through the use of hydrogen as a clean energy source. (Social)
  • Revitalisation of regional communities through employment in hydrogen-based industries (Social)

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