THE KOTAI HYDROGEN PROJECT
Kotai Energy is an Australian company helping de-carbonise the world’s energy systems. Through our partnership with the leading scientific team at Curtin University, Perth, and supported by the Australian government grant system, Kotai is developing a green hydrogen storage and transport solution which has the potential to alleviate existing H₂ transportation, storage and safety limitations in line with numerous government initiatives to develop the green H₂ export market.
The existing methods used in the production of green hydrogen remain heavily constrained in their ability to access end markets, with significant costs in the development of infrastructure, such as hydrogen pipelines, limiting the geographical reach of market aspirants. Kotai’s leading technology has the potential to alleviate existing issues.
Hydrogen is gaining traction as a clean alternative to natural gas and is considered a versatile energy carrier by the International Energy Agency, capable of addressing various energy challenges. Kotai’s hydrogen project offers various synergies with the vanadium redox flow battery technology that is currently being pursued by the Company, and each targets the growing need for reliable alternative sources of energy.
The Curtin team has developed a hydrogen-rich powder, called ‘sodium borohydride’ that allows safe and cost effective global export of hydrogen. Sodium borohydride is safer and more cost-effective than competing methods of hydrogen export such as liquid hydrogen or ammonia. Most importantly, it releases hydrogen when simply added to water. We can store energy in our sodium borohydride powder by adding renewable energy to a chemical processing route. The innovation will be of interest to Australian energy exporters and to Asian and European energy importers.
Kotai Energy is collaborating with the Curtin scientific team that develops the product – green hydrogen – intended to be exported by Kotai.
In January 2020, the Federal Education Minister, the Hon. Dan Tehan, announced that the project led by Professor Craig Buckley from Curtin’s School of Electrical Engineering, Computing and Mathematical Sciences has been awarded an Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Project grant of more than $580,000.
“Professor Buckley and his team’s research has the potential to support the creation of a new export industry in Australia by harnessing our rich natural resources to develop a new renewable energy source.”
The aim of the research was to investigate creating a closed-loop energy cycle using green hydrogen and renewable energy sources rather than fossil fuels.
In November 2022, the Technical Team behind the Project was a winner of the Curtinnovation Awards in the Science and Engineering category. Here is a video overview of the project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tCwrZEyXl4w
Kotai Energy and the Curtin research team are supported by the Australian Research Council (ARC) Training Centre for the Global Hydrogen Economy (GlobH2E), which is an international consortium of research institutions, industry partners, government agencies and hydrogen start-ups. ARC acts as a collaborative focal point between world-class teams in the areas of chemical, safety and manufacturing engineering, materials science and theoretical modelling, social science, and energy market analysis.
GlobH2E’s mission is to deliver industrial transformation via development of innovative, cost-effective hydrogen technologies, combined with business skills to support and facilitate Australia’s transformation into a world-leading hydrogen powerhouse.
Image Source: “Australia’s National Hydrogen Strategy” prepared by the Commonwealth of Australia, 2019
Video Source: Curtin University
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