Wednesday, 08 August 2018 11:33

CSIRO successfully refuels hydrogen vehicles

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The Toyota Mirai fuel cell vehicle, ready to be fuelled with CSIRO-produced hydrogen. The Toyota Mirai fuel cell vehicle, ready to be fuelled with CSIRO-produced hydrogen. CSIRO

The CSIRO has successfully refuelled two fuel cell vehicles that use ultra-high purity hydrogen which was produced in Queensland using the organisation's membrane technology.

In a statement, the CSIRO said this could open the way for bulk hydrogen to be transported as ammonia using existing means and then reconverted back to hydrogen at the point of use.

Two cars, the Toyota Mirai and Hyundai Nexo, were tested using this method.

The membrane separates ultra-high purity hydrogen from ammonia, while blocking all other gases. It links hydrogen production, distribution and delivery in the form of a modular unit that can be used at, or near, a refuelling station.

This means that the transportation and storage of hydrogen – currently a complex and relatively expensive process – is simplified, allowing bulk hydrogen to be transported economically and efficiently in the form of liquid ammonia.

Recent advances in solar and electrochemical technologies mean renewable hydrogen production is expected to become competitive with fossil fuel-based production, providing an opportunity to decarbonise both the energy and transport sectors while creating new export opportunities.

20180618 CSIRO Pullenvale 224

Energy researchers in the hydrogen lab.

CSIRO chief executive Dr Larry Marshall said: "This is a watershed moment for energy, and we look forward to applying CSIRO innovation to enable this exciting renewably-sourced fuel and energy storage medium a smoother path to market

"I'm delighted to see strong collaboration and the application of CSIRO know-how to what is a key part of the overall energy mix."

BOC sales and marketing director Bruce Currie said: “BOC’s innovative engineering team are proud to be collaborating with CSIRO researchers on this technology breakthrough, as we focus on advancing the hydrogen economy and global transition towards clean hydrogen for mobility and energy.

The technology will now be increased in scale and deployed in several larger-scale demonstrations, in Australia and abroad.

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 utilisation via combustion and/or fuel cells, as well as hydrogen production).

Photos: courtesy CSIRO

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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