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What is it?

Hydrogen is reacted with dibenzyltoluene (DBT), resulting in a hydrogenated form of the DBT, a compound that can be transported at ambient temperature and pressure. The hydrogen can be extracted after transport via the application of heat or catalysis.

Why is it important?

Hydrogenated DBT can carry hydrogen in liquid form at ambient temperature and pressure.


  • Volumetric hydrogen density: 58 g/L
  • Gravimetric hydrogen density: 62 g/kg
  • Storage conditions: Ambient storage, should be kept below 30°C. Container should be carefully sealed to prevent exposure to sunlight, heat and humidity
  • Roundtrip Energy efficiency: ~43%


  • Safer and easier to handle than toluene/methylcyclohexane.However toluene is often a significant component in petrol
  • Lower temperature requirement for hydrogenation than toluene
  • Can utilise existing oil and chemical infrastructure for storage and transportation
  • Stays in liquid state under ambient temperature and pressure


  • Need to return carrier if exported
  • High temperature required for both hydrogenation and dehydrogenation

RD&D priorities

  • Develop catalysts for improved conversion efficiency
  • Improve process efficiency through heat and pressure management
  • Demonstrate hydrogen release at mild reaction conditions
  • Demonstrate system durability over long-term use

Known active organisations

  • The Australian National University
  • The University of Newcastle
  • The University of Technology Sydney

Other opportunities like this

  • Ammonia is synthesised by reacting hydrogen with nitrogen gas at high temperatures and pressures.

  • Hydrogen is reacted with toluene to form methylcyclohexane (MCH), a compound that can be transported at ambient temperature and pressure.

  • Methanol is conventionally synthesised at large scale from synthesis gas (or syngas), a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide typically at an H₂/CO ratio of 1.8 ~ 2.2, derived through steam reforming of natural gas or steam gasification of coal.

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