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Project overview
  • Lead Organisation

    Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT)

    Location

    Victoria

    ARENA Program

    Hydrogen Research and Development Funding Round

  • Start date

    31 March 2024

    End date

    28 February 2029

  • Project Partners
    University of Technology Sydney, University of New South Wales, Clayton Hydrogen Technology Cluster Ltd, Beyond H2 Pty Ltd, Advanced Carbon Engineering Pty Ltd, South East Water Corporation

Summary

Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology will develop floating catalytic membrane devices that produce green hydrogen from solar energy and wastewater.

Need

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.

At present, the process of extracting hydrogen from water via photocatalytic water splitting is inefficient and has significant barriers to commercialisation. The process is constrained by underutilisation of the full solar spectrum and is costly (~$5-7/kg of H2 compared to ~$5.5/kg of H2 for electrocatalytic water splitting).

Developing a membrane-based technology by integrating a photocatalyst with an efficient solar-thermal film represents an advancement over current photocatalytic systems. Directly producing hydrogen from a wastewater source has rarely been considered, and using an all-solar-driven floating device is a unique strategy to directly convert the source wastewater into hydrogen for downstream use.

Action

The Project aims to fabricate a large-scale, flexible floating device containing an innovative dual chamber which uses only natural sunlight to simultaneously produce cost-effective green hydrogen, degrade organic species and purify wastewater.

The Project will be delivered in two stages, a Core Research Stage (Stage 1), followed by a Research Commercialisation Stage (Stage 2).

The Core Research Stage will advance the current laboratory-scale photocatalytic system (TRL3) into a small-scale prototype all-solar-driven floating device for hydrogen-from-wastewater (TRL4)

The Research Commercialisation Stage will transition the results and innovations from the Core Research Stage into prototype testing to satisfy the criterion for the technology readiness level and preparation of the background for further development. It will progress the small-scale prototype (TRL4) to a larger demonstration level device (TRL5).

Outcome

The Project will achieve the following Outcomes:

  • accelerated commercialisation of renewable hydrogen through innovative Research and Development of catalytic membranes that combine the photocatalysis and photothermal effects to maximise the use of solar energy in hydrogen production technologies;
  • increase Australia‚Äôs academic research capacity in the hydrogen sector, and the facilitation of collaboration between research groups and industry;
  • improvement in the technology readiness and commercial readiness of hydrogen production technologies;
  • new knowledge of temperature-dependence and in-built charge generation in promoting photocatalytic reactions;
  • new knowledge of the synergistic effects of photocatalysis and solar thermal effects, to overcome the solar-accessibility limitations of conventional processes, to reduce the cost of renewable hydrogen production; and
  • development, deployment and commercialisation exploration of composite catalysts and membranes incorporated floatable devices suitable for real-world scenarios.
Last updated
10 April 2024
Last updated 10 April 2024
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