NSW hydrogen company targets US with heat reaction technology


Star Scientific has committed $100 million (USD 63.45 million) to establish a new clean hydrogen research and manufacturing base in New Mexico as it looks to target the North American market with its Hydrogen Energy Release Optimiser (HERO) technology that catalyses hydrogen and oxygen to rapidly create industrial-scale heat without burning the gases and without generating greenhouse gases.

Headquartered on the New South Wales Central Coast, Star Scientific formalised the announcement by signing a letter of intent with the New Mexico state government.

Star Scientific global group chairman Andrew Horvath said the document commits the company to an intensive process to secure a suitable site in Albuquerque where it plans to invest $100 million to create a sprawling research and manufacturing complex.

“The facility in New Mexico will mirror the facility we will build in Australia, and it will service customers in the United States, Canada and, initially South America,” Horvath said. “We will be developing GHG-free process-heat systems for industry and stand-alone power systems while continuing research on other projects.”

Star Scientific, which has an 8,500 square metre research and development facility in Berkeley Vale on the NSW Central Coast and another office in Switzerland, is seeking to advance the rollout of its HERO technology, a coating substance which can be applied to ceramics or certain metals and which, upon contact with hydrogen and oxygen, increases in temperature from zero to above 700 degrees Celsius in three minutes.

Hovath said the technology can be used for off-grid power, desalination, and heavy industrial production where high temperatures are needed.

“Because it’s not burning, it’s a reaction, all that energy is excitement energy and it goes straight through the substrate. So our energy transfer is above 90% into whatever you’re transferring it to, whether it’s water, CO2, whatever medium,” he said.

“HERO allows us to make saturated steam for energy production, or in fact any sort of heat-driven energy production – be it in industry, be it in food or be it in mass energy production.”

Star Scientific said it is looking to acquire about 20 hectares in Albuquerque where it plans to construct up to 10 buildings for administration, design, testing, manufacturing as well as laboratory research.

The company expects to employ about 200 people at the facility and is currently in negotiations with the New Mexico Economic Development Department for an incentive package that would include assistance from the Job-Creation Fund under the Local Economic Development Act, as well as assistance for job training.

Horvath said he is hopeful the company can break ground in New Mexico in late 2024.

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