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Project overview
  • Lead Organisation

    Monash University



    ARENA Program

    Hydrogen Research and Development Funding Round

  • Start date

    31 March 2024

    End date

    30 April 2029

  • Project Partners
    The University of Sydney, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Woodside Energy Ltd, Ixom Operations Pty Ltd, Endua Pty Ltd


The Project will develop noble-metal-free catalysts, in addition to high-conductivity membranes and porous transport layers for reduced cost pure water and saline/seawater hydrogen production using proton exchange membrane electrolysers.


This project was selected as part of the competitive Hydrogen R&D Funding Round under the Transformative Research Accelerating Commercialisation (TRAC) Program to rapidly develop the critical technologies required to build a clean, innovative, safe, and competitive hydrogen industry and position Australia as a major player globally. While hydrogen technologies and targets have continued to evolve, R&D investment remains a critical imperative to commercialise clean hydrogen. Projects supported by the Hydrogen R&D Funding Round seek to progress the commercialisation of low cost, clean hydrogen in Australia.

Existing commercial hydrogen production systems tend to be expensive due to dependence on rare metals such as iridium and dependence on stand-alone water purification units.

This project seeks to remove the need for rare and expensive metals and the need for stand-alone water purification units.


The Project aims to deliver a cost-effective proton-exchange water electrolysis technology for renewable hydrogen generation from pure and saline/seawater.

The project will be delivered in two stages:

  1. The core research stage, including:
    • refine, develop and optimise noble-metal-free catalysts, high-conductivity membranes and porous transport layers, produced by scalable industry-ready methods, for the proton-exchange water electrolysers
    • integrate the new materials into proton-exchange water electrolyser prototypes and optimise the operating conditions to maximise performance, and
    • demonstrate robust operation of the laboratory-scale devices under industrially relevant conditions on a practical timescale comparison of cooling strategies and cooling coil layouts.
  2. The research commercialisation stage, including:
    • design of scaled-up electrolyser cells
    • construction of 100 cm2 water electrolysis cells,
    • the demonstration of a stacked electrolyser system based on earth abundant materials at ≥1 kilowatt scale.


The objectives for the project will be achieved through the following outcomes:

accelerated commercialisation of renewable hydrogen through innovative Research and Development in hydrogen production technologies

increased academic research capacity in the Australian hydrogen sector, and the facilitation of collaboration between research groups and industry

improvement in the technology readiness and commercial readiness of hydrogen production technologies

development of lower cost catalysts to replace the estimated 1,000-fold more expensive Platinum on carbon (Pt/C) and IrOx, which reduce the cell stack costs by ~20-25%, reducing reliance on precious metals used as catalysts;

ability to utilise saline water/seawater for electrolysis which will enable reduction of desalination costs and plant footprint (reducing balance of plant costs by 3%), unlocking offshore hydrogen production applications, and

development of high-throughput synthesis systems which can facilitate tailorable catalyst synthesis and reduced cost porous transport layers.

Last updated
10 April 2024
Last updated 10 April 2024
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