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CSIRO Tech world first set to fuel hydrogen industry after recent trials

CSIRO Tech successfully resupplies fuel cell vehicles

Australia stands on the precipice of a new hydrogen production and export industry according to the CSIRO.

The national science agency has refuelled a pair of fuel cell vehicles with ultra-high purity hydrogen, produced in Queensland using CSIRO’s membrane technology.

Expectations are high for the technology and its future industries after the CSIRO demonstrated the operation of a Toyota Mirai and Hyundai Nexo after they were successfully refuelled with ultra-high purity hydrogen.

It represents a likely watershed moment for commercial road transport as it is the first time in the world passenger vehicles have been filled with carbon-free fuel.

For the moment the technology promises to simplify the means necessary to transport and store hydrogen in bulk economically and efficiently in the form of liquid ammonia, using existing infrastructure before it is reconverted back to hydrogen at the point of use said the CSIRO in a statement.

The membrane functions to separate ultra-high purity hydrogen from ammonia at the same time blocking all other gases.

By linking hydrogen production, distribution and delivery in a modular unit that can be used at or near a refuelling station, the CSIRO said the technology has the potential to fill a gap in the technology chain to supply fuel cell vehicles around the world with low-emissions sourced from Australia.

The low density of the highly flammable element has proven difficult to ship in the past.

Hydrogen production, following discoveries made in solar and electrochemical technologies, is anticipated to compete with fossil fuel-based production. The CSIRO said it creates an opportunity to decarbonise the energy and transport sectors

Dr Larry Marshall, CSIRO Chief Executive said the prospect of growing a global market for clean hydrogen was exciting as it had potential to feed a national renewable hydrogen export industry.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

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