A technology company is on the look out for a home for a manufacturing plant to produce hydrogen-based energy modules that can be retrofitted to large industries, including coal-fired power stations.
NSW Central Coast-based technology company Star Scientific has created a Hydrogen Energy Release Optimiser (HERO) - a unique catalyst that can allow hydrogen to achieve its full potential as a sustainable energy source.
The catalyst is usually applied to a substrate in the form of a coating. When introduced to hydrogen and oxygen in a closed environment the catalyst generates industrial scale heat.
In test runs Star Scientific has generated over 700 degrees celsius in just over three minutes.
The only other output is pure water, which can be re-used in the process of hydrogen generation.
The company is presently scouting locations on the NSW Central Coast and in the Upper Hunter for a future manufacturing plant.
"It's a couple of years away before you see something installed but it's definitely been proved, it works, there is no issue with the tech. It's just now how do you manufacture it," chairman Andrew Horvath said.
Applications include food processing, green steel manufacturing, desalination and power stations.
The company signed a memorandum of understanding with the Philippines' department of energy in January to assist in the development of the country's hydrogen economy.
Early attention is being focused on retro-fitting existing coal-fired power stations to allow them to be fuelled by green hydrogen.
The company is also fielding significant interest from the US and Germany about its technology.
Mr Horvath said he was hopeful the HERO technology would eventually be used to retrofit ageing Australian power stations.
"The turbines in Liddell are fine; it's the rest of it that is falling to bits," he said.
"In Eraring there is at least 90 megawatts of parasitic power being used to run all of the sub-systems for pollution and coal handling.
"[using hydrogen] is a plus-plus because they don't need to demolish the plant and retrofit everything. It keeps their goodwill going with their shareholders.
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Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said the government was backing Australia to become a world leader in hydrogen production and exports, which would drive billions of dollars in economic growth.
"Importantly, if we can get hydrogen produced at under $2 a kilogram, it will be able to play a role in our domestic energy mix, bringing down energy prices and keeping the lights on," he said.
"Our hydrogen industry will have a positive impact both at home and overseas - from cheaper energy bills and job creation to reducing global emissions.
"This is why the Australian Government has committed more than $500 million to back this industry's development."