THE University of Sydney has joined forces with technology commercialisation firm Hazer Group to scale up the Hazer Process, which produces hydrogen and graphite from natural gas.
Sydney’s Laboratory of Sustainable Technologies (LST) will be the main collaboration partner, and was selected due to its expertise in graphite, nanomaterials and the hydrogen economy. The lab’s facilities are ideally suited for the scaleup work, which aims to increase production by 100 times, to kilogrammes per day.
The Hazer Process was developed by researchers at the University of Western Australia (UWA), and the Hazer Group was assigned the intellectual property rights for commercial development. The proprietary Hazer Process uses natural gas and similar feedstocks, and reacts the feedstock over an iron ore process catalyst, to make ‘clean’ hydrogen and high purity, crystalline, synthetic graphite.
Hazer believes that once commercialised, the hydrogen and synthetic graphite could in fact be lower in cost than the natural commodities, due to the low-cost starting materials and production costs. In addition, the CO2 emissions are “negligible”, which would allow Hazer to tap into the growing clean energy market for hydrogen. The exact morphology of the graphite produced can be tailored through the process, which Hazer says will allow it to target multiple end users and specialised markets.
Hazer’s chief technical officer Andrew Cornejo will move to LST to work with two specially appointed full-time university researchers on the project. Hazer will fund the development work. The new project will also include work to characterise and analyse the graphite produced to determine the optimum conditions to produce different graphite morphologies.
The collaboration is expected to be formalised within the next six weeks.
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