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Turning methane into clean fuel

Commercialisation of an exciting new process that splits methane into hydrogen and graphite has allowed HAZER® group to access a global market worth over US$100 billion.

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CHALLENGE

Hydrogen itself is a clean fuel but current production technologies are significant producers of carbon pollution. It has great potential as a low-carbon energy source for electricity, heating, hydrogen vehicles and long-distance energy transport. Once burnt, it’s only by-product is water. However, until it can be produced cleanly, it will not be a viable green alternative to fossil fuels.

RESEARCH

The HAZER® Process was developed at the University of Western Australia and splits methane into hydrogen and graphite using iron ore as a catalyst. This turns methane, a significant greenhouse gas and abundant natural resource, into hydrogen, a source of clean energy. The graphite is also a valuable industrial commodity.

Advanced microscopy by A/Prof. Martin Saunders allowed the cracking process, and the nanomaterials it produced, to be understood. The HAZER® Process produces economically competitive hydrogen with at least 50% fewer emissions than alternative fossil fuel-based hydrogen production.

TEM image of carbon nano-onions encapsulating catalyst particles by A/Prof. Martin Saunders

The nano-structured graphite forms as self-encapsulating carbon spheres called carbon nano-onions. These don’t contribute to atmospheric carbon and can be used in everything from hydrogen fuel cells to environmental remediation, capacitors, lithium-ion batteries and much more. The graphite also shows promise for biomedical applications.

IMPACT

2010

HAZER® Group is formed to commercialise the economically competitive HAZER Process and take advantage of a global market worth over US$115 billion

2015

Launched on the ASX and received funding to develop a pilot plant to produce ultra-high-purity graphite in Kwinana, WA

2019

Ongoing R&D investigating the use of graphite in applications including Li-ion batteries, water purification, and additives for lubrication products supported by $800,000 grant from IMCRC

BOC Ltd. agrees to supply storage, logistics and refuelling services to deliver hydrogen to end users from a proposed Commercial Demonstration Plant

2020

A successful feasibility study leads to $9.4 million in government funding to support the construction of the HAZER Commercial Demonstration Plant

HAZER team up with the WA state government to turn methane from wastewater treatment into 100 tonnes of fuel-grade hydrogen and 380 tonnes of graphite each year

Man hold a fuel dispenser with hydrogen logo on gas station. h2 combustion engine for emission free ecofriendly transport.