Research focus 2: Hydrogen based processing of materials
Silicon production using hydrogen
Silicon is one of the critical “metals” and plays an important role in the human civilisation. It is used for making alloys such as aluminum-silicon and ferro-silicon for many mechanical and metallurgical applications, for construction materials, as well as being used in electronics (transistors, computer chips and solar cells).
In collaboration with Victorian Hydrogen Hub (VH2), Upala and CSIRO Minerals, we are developing the major options for decarbonising silicon production processes including possible technology development using plasma.
Development of hydrogen ironmaking route for Australian ores
Hydrogen ironmaking has great potential for lowering the carbon footprint of the steel industry. In Europe and North America, existing shaft ironmaking technologies have been adapted to utilise hydrogen, but there’s been no evaluation of Australian ores to date.
Our research is focused on evaluating the chemical kinetic aspects of using hydrogen in this process, as well the techno-economics in an Australian context. Critical issues concerning the effect of impurities on the process and the cost of hydrogen generation will be also addressed with industry partners.
Development and monitoring of hydrogen electrolyser systems
Many new methods have been established to make hydrogen, but problems occur in industrial applications when catalysts degrade or break down. This project is developing new approaches to understanding hydrogen evolution catalysts and to investigate real-time industrial monitoring of electrolysers.