Science & Technology

Australian researchers claim a “big leap” in technology for producing affordable renewable

Australian researchers claim that they have made a “big leap” by increasing the efficiency of electrolytic cells, accelerating the era in which green hydrogen competes with fossil fuels as an energy source.

Using technology developed at the University of Wollongong, Hysata found that its patented capillary-fed electrolytic cells achieved 95% efficiency, about a quarter of current technology, and little waste. I said it means.

Achievements published with peer review Today’s Nature Communications JournalThe so-called Morrison government Hydrogen stretch goal According to Paul Barrett, CEO of Hysata, $ 2 per kilogram was achieved in 2025 to make fuel more competitive.

“From 75% [efficiency] Up to 95% – This is a really big leap for the electrolysis industry, ”says Barrett.

Renewable energies such as wind and solar have penetrated and supplied the power sector. More than one-third of electricity in eastern Australia However, some transportation, such as the decarbonization industry and trucking, can be more difficult unless fuels such as hydrogen are much cheaper.

Gerry Swiegers, Chief Technology Officer of Hysata and Professor of UoW, said that electrolysis, which uses electricity to break down water into hydrogen and oxygen, has been around for two centuries, and in most cases the process improves little by little. It states that it has only been done.

The central challenge was to reduce the electrical resistance in the electrolytic cell. Just as a smartphone’s battery warms up when charging, resistors often not only waste energy in normal cells, but also require additional energy for cooling.

“The way we did it differently was to start over and think about it from a very high level,” Sweegers said. “Everyone else was looking to improve the material or existing design.”

Illustration: Hysata

With the help of two PhD researchers, Aaron Hodges and Anh Linh Hoang, a small team developed a thin sponge-like membrane that sucks water between the two electrodes using readily available materials. .. It was also important to avoid creating bubbles.

“Therefore, the combination of that wicking membrane and bubble-free operation resulted in essentially low resistance,” Barrett said. Hydrogen can be produced using 41.5 kilowatt hours of electricity per kilogram.

“For hydrogen producers, this significantly reduces both the cost of capital and the cost of operating to produce green hydrogen,” he said, adding that the efficiency level achieved was “the highest in the world.” rice field.

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From the original concept of 2019, research is progressing rapidly.$ 4.25 million from UK-based IP Group, $ 750,000 from Australia Clean energy Hysata’s Finance Corp is currently aiming to launch a pilot manufacturing site for electrolytic plates, each with a diameter of 250 mm, by the end of 2023.

“We want to help Australia build core electrolyzer technology,” Barrett added, adding that the plan would be to build a plant capable of producing one gigawatt of electrolyzers per year. Now that the production technique has been mastered, plants of similar size will follow elsewhere in the country and beyond.

According to Barrett, Haisata plans to announce funding in late 2022, hiring more staff to add to a strong team of 20 people.

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At stake is an industry that is potentially worth trillions of dollars.According to the government National hydrogen strategy In the Carefully Optimistic Scenario released in 2019, the Australian hydrogen industry will create about 7,600 jobs and add about $ 11 billion in additional GDP annually by 2050, or the market will grow rapidly. Development could add another 10,000 jobs and $ 26 billion annually.

“I’m very excited about this project,” Swiegers said. “I think this really gives us a chance to reach Net Zero [carbon emissions] It may be faster than expected. “

Australian researchers claim a “big leap” in technology for producing affordable renewable Australian researchers claim a “big leap” in technology for producing affordable renewable

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