In a successful demonstration of technology capability, researchers at Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) have filled Toyota Mirai and Hyundai Nexo hydrogen fuel cell vehicles using ultra-high purity hydrogen produced in Queensland using CSIRO’s novel H2-NH3 membrane separation technology. (Earlier post.)
Ammonia (NH3) has high capacity for hydrogen storage—17.6 wt.%, based on its molecular structure. CSIRO developed a thin metal membrane that can separate high-purity hydrogen from ammonia used as a hydrogen carrier, while blocking all other gases.
The technology can open the pathway for bulk hydrogen to be transported in the form of ammonia, using existing infrastructure, and then reconverted back to hydrogen at the point of use. The membrane links hydrogen production, distribution and delivery in the form of a modular unit that can be used at, or near, a refueling station.
CSIRO’s vision is that the membrane separation technology has the potential to fill the gap in the technology chain to supply fuel cell vehicles around the world with low-emissions hydrogen sourced from Australia.
Following this successful demonstration, the technology will be increased in scale and deployed in several larger-scale demonstrations in Australia and abroad.
The project received $1.7 million from the Science and Industry Endowment Fund (SIEF), which was matched by CSIRO.
In addition to its membrane technology, CSIRO is applying its expertise to all stages of the hydrogen technology chain (including solar photovoltaics, solar thermal, grid management, water electrolysis, ammonia synthesis, direct ammonia utilization via combustion and/or fuel cells, as well as hydrogen production).