CSIRO spinout to advance hydrogen tech for decarbonisation of heavy industry

The establishment of Hadean Energy and its collaboration with industry leaders like BlueScope marks a significant stride towards realizing cost-effective hydrogen production and promoting cleaner industrial practices.

CSIRO SOE ceramic membrane LR
CSIRO's tubular solid oxide electrolysis ceramic membranes. Image: CSIRO

The CSIRO, and corporate advisor RFC Ambrian have jointly launched Hadean Energy, a new company aiming to commercialize advanced technology capable of producing hydrogen with significantly reduced electricity consumption.

The core technology being developed by CSIRO is the tubular solid oxide electrolysis (SOE) system. It facilitates efficient hydrogen production through water electrolysis, utilizing a combination of heat and electricity.

The International Energy Agency projects a 138 percent rise in hydrogen demand by 2030, but cost-intensive production and high energy inputs hinder the large-scale adoption of green hydrogen.

This innovation, to be trialled at BlueScope’s Port Kembla Steelworks, holds the promise of reducing hydrogen production costs and industrial emissions by increasing process efficiencies with great potential for decarbonizing heavy industries, a critical step toward sustainability.

The hydrogen product can be used as a feedstock for producing chemicals including ammonia, petrochemical, methanol, dimethyl ether, sustainable fuels and has applications in low emission steelmaking and heavy transport. Being free of platinum group metals and nickel also reduces reliance on international supply chains.

Hadean Energy will hold exclusive rights over CSIRO's SOE technology, with a pilot-scale trial set to start in April 2024. This trial will validate the technology's robustness and scalability, potentially propelling it to larger-scale implementation.

“CSIRO’s SOE technology has the potential to produce hydrogen at a higher efficiency and lower cost for integration with industrial processes,” Dr Sarb Giddey, lead scientist on hydrogen research at CSIRO said.

“It allows industrial waste heat to be integrated back into the industrial processes, which decreases the electrical energy required to produce hydrogen or syn-gas by up to 30 per cent."

“It’s great news for industry, because integrating the hydrogen product back into industrial processes onsite also eliminates storage and transport costs while drastically reducing the use of fossil fuels in the industrial process,” Dr Giddey said.

Through the partnership with CSIRO, RFC Ambrian has fostered several successful ventures, including Chrysos Corporation, Nextore, and MRead.

To read more about Hadean Energy, go to their website here.

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