CSIRO team working to commercialize membrane separating H2 from NH3; opening up an export market for Australia renewable H2
Researchers at Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) have years of experience researching the best ways to separate pure hydrogen from mixed gas streams. Now, the researchers have developed a thin metal membrane that can separate high-purity hydrogen from ammonia used as a hydrogen carrier. Ammonia (NH3) has a number of favorable attributes for such an application, the primary one being its high capacity for hydrogen storage—17.6 wt.%, based on its molecular structure.
CSIRO’s vision is to use the membrane technology to open up a new world market for renewable hydrogen produced via electrolysis in Australia. The renewable hydrogen would first be converted to ammonia (in combination with nitrogen produced in a renewables-driven air separation unit), then be exported piggybacking on the existing transport infrastructure for ammonia, and finally be extracted from the ammonia using the membrane system for use in vehicles and other applications.
CSIRO has launched a two-year project to develop and demonstrate a hydrogen production system—incorporating the CSIRO-developed membrane technology—to deliver at least 5 kg/day of hydrogen, directly from ammonia. The project recently received $1.7 million from the Science and Industry Endowment Fund (SIEF), which will be matched by CSIRO.
The research has also been welcomed by industry and is supported by BOC, Hyundai, Toyota and Renewable Hydrogen Pty Ltd.In the final stages of development, the device is being further refined, ready for commercial deployment. The membrane reactor technology be implemented in a modular unit that can be used at, or near, a refueling station.
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