Researchers at The University of New South Wales Sydney have been awarded a share of more than A$22.1 million (US$15.9 million) in funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) for research into hydrogen as a means to exporting renewable energy.
Hydrogen—or hydrogen carriers such ammonia (earlier post)—are potential ways for Australia to export renewable energy. This funding is aimed at helping to maximize Australia’s opportunities in developing a cost-effective hydrogen export supply chain and is the first time grants in this specific field have been offered.
UNSW will receive more than $3.6 million for three projects that concentrate on solar energy as a means to create better ways to produce and transport renewable hydrogen.
Scientia Professor Rose Amal AC has been awarded $1.3 million for research into “highly efficient and low cost photovoltaic-electrolysis (PVE) system to generate hydrogen by harvesting the full spectrum of sunlight”. The current obstacles to using PVE to produce hydrogen are high cost and modest efficiency. Professor Amal’s project aims to develop a low-cost, highly efficient integrated PVE system that can use sunlight as the sole source of electricity, heat and light to produce hydrogen from water.
Professor Evatt Hawkes, Associate Professor Shawn Kook and Dr Shaun Chan will share a $2.5 million grant with researchers from the University of Melbourne to investigate the performance and value of efficient, heavy duty engines running on renewable hydrogen. Studies of hydrogen injection and combustion will be used to develop advanced tools for the design and optimisation of highly efficient, hydrogen fueled engines.
Associate Professor Jason Scott and Dr Da-wei Wang will receive $1.045 million to investigate a system that can convert organic waste into renewable hydrogen using solar energy. The project “Waste Biomass to Renewable Hydrogen” aims to develop a method to treat organic waste with heat from the sun to convert it into a form from which solar technology is used to extract hydrogen. A major benefit of this will be the creation of a sustainable process that extracts hydrogen from a waste stream with no carbon-dioxide by-product.