Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO for short) is a regular fixture at Ammonia Energy. Since the first edition of the AEA’s APAC conference in 2018 CSIRO has been a key supporter, hosting the event in Melbourne. This year our venue may have changed, but CSIRO continues its strong involvement. Taking place at the CSIRO Energy Centre in Newcastle, Australia, Ammonia Energy APAC 2023 offers the opportunity to hear some exclusive updates about ongoing CSIRO ammonia energy projects, as well as the opportunity to tour an ammonia combustion engine laboratory.
A portfolio of projects: engines, fuels cells & small-scale production
CSIRO is contributing R&D across the hydrogen and ammonia value chains. Earlier this year, a research team handed down its final report on a small-scale, reduced-pressure Haber Bosch system fed with electrolytic hydrogen. While falling short of its 1kg/day production target, the system demonstrated stable, continuous ammonia production for more than 24 hours. Work is ongoing with partners Orica and the Grains Research & Development Corporation to push this system to pilot scale, and then commercialisation.
In terms of direct ammonia applications, CSIRO has been working with combustion engines and fuel cells for a number of years. In 2021, CSIRO Chief Research Consultant Dr. David Harris explained how progress had been made in stable engine operations (and minimal unburnt fuel emissions) via the engineering of a sequential port injector. The successful design of multiple injection pathways is intended to lead to extensive trials, and eventually commercial-scale engine demonstrations. The conference venue for this year also hosts CSIRO’s main ammonia combustion engine research laboratory, so expect updates & the opportunity to see what a working engine laboratory looks like. CSIRO has also demonstrated stable power output from benchtop-scale solid oxide fuel cell stacks at 800°C. Work is ongoing to scale-up cell designs, and improve efficiency and durability.
CSIRO’s contributions aren’t limited to the technical R&D space either. In late 2022, and in conjunction with the Australian Hydrogen Council, it launched HyFAQ: an online tool designed to be an interactive compendium of information on hydrogen. CSIRO is pursuing the Hydrogen Industry Mission, a multi-year strategic plan to launch Australia’s domestic hydrogen industry. It is also a key contributor to Australia’s national hydrogen strategy.
To unpack all this & explain CSIRO’s future plans, we welcome Research Program Director Dr. Daniel Roberts to Newcastle. Dr. Roberts will deliver a special CSIRO keynote on the second morning of Ammonia Energy APAC 2023 – make sure you’re in the audience so you can ask your pressing questions.
Metal membrane technology: unlocking the value of ammonia cracking
In 2017, CSIRO debuted a unique metal membrane technology to enable the production of fuel cell-purity hydrogen fuel from ammonia. In 2018, the technology was demonstrated in Brisbane, refueling a fuel cell vehicle in front of the national press. Later in 2018, Fortescue Future Industries joined CSIRO as an official development partner, and the pair were joined by Hyundai in 2020 in a bid to scale-up the technology for demonstrations in Asia. In late 2022, Fortescue announced that it will work with Siemens and Geopura to establish a commercial-scale demonstrator based on the technology, with a 200 kg/day hydrogen fuel demonstrator to be built in Newcastle, UK.
In 2023, we’ll get an exclusive, behind-the-scenes update on how the technology is progressing, and what deployment will look like over the coming years. CSIRO Project Manager & Team Leader Dr. David Wong and FFI Director, Science & Technology Michael Dolan will join us in Newcastle for Ammonia Energy APAC 2023.