Advanced energy storage, green hydrogen research win government funding

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Green hydrogen and advanced energy storage research have attracted funding support in the latest round of the Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Project Scheme. The projects are among 18 new research collaborations backed with $7.5 million in government funding.

Curtin University research that aims to develop a new way of producing, storing and exporting green hydrogen from Australian resources has been awarded more than $580,000. In this project, green hydrogen will be exported internationally in the form of sodium borohydride produced from borax using renewable energy. Once it reaches its destination, green hydrogen will be released from this solid substance by adding water.

The spent material will then be shipped back to Australia for recycling back to sodium borohydride, creating a closed-loop energy cycle using renewable energy. The project aims to create a new export industry in Australia by expanding current mining expertise whilst harnessing the nation’s wealth of renewable energy to potentially deliver billions of dollars of revenue.

“Exporting green hydrogen as a solid will reduce costs, increase safety and simplify overseas processing which will put Australia at the forefront of an emerging renewable energy market leading to new jobs, new business opportunities and environmental dividends,” Minister for Education Dan Tehan said.

One of the five projects led by the University of New South Wales (UNSW) that have won financial backing in the latest ARC funding round is focusing on energy storage devices. The research to develop novel cathode coating materials towards more durable and powerful energy storage devices has received $422,881.

The UNSW project is looking to address fundamental challenges in this field by developing high voltage cathode coated with nano-ionic thin layers and seeks to construct a lithium-ion battery based on perovskite oxides to provide high capacity and stability for potential applications in electric cars, mobile phones and the Internet of Things.

Combined with new materials fabrication techniques and innovative strain engineering, the expected project outcome is high-performance cathodes with enhanced rate capability and cycling life, low fabrication cost and production scalability.

A total of $415, 882 has been awarded to Monash University to investigate new energy storage materials. With new and inexpensive ways of storing renewable energy urgently required, the project aims to develop and demonstrate new phase change materials to advance the technology of thermal energy storage.

It will focus on new materials that store thermal energy in the temperature range between 100 – 220C that is optimal for distributed storage of solar and wind energy. Working with commercial partner Energy Storage P/L, the project hopes to lead to practical technology for households and industry to support storage of renewable, zero-carbon energy sources.

The ARC Linkage Program promotes research partnerships between researchers and business, industry, community organisations and other publicly funded research agencies. By supporting the development of partnerships, the ARC encourages the transfer of skills, knowledge and ideas as a basis for securing commercial and other benefits of research.