Hydrogen produced at Redlands Research Centre exported overseas

HYDROGEN EXPORT: Professor Ian Mackinnon is leading a $7.5 million research project into hybrid renewable energy at the Redlands Research Centre.
HYDROGEN EXPORT: Professor Ian Mackinnon is leading a $7.5 million research project into hybrid renewable energy at the Redlands Research Centre.

HYDROGEN produced at the state government's Redlands Research Centre has been exported to Japan in a significant step forward for the state's hydrogen industry.

Exported by JXTG, Japan's largest petroleum conglomerate, the hydrogen was produced at Queensland University of Technology's solar cell facility in Cleveland.

QUT's Professor Ian Mackinnon said the green hydrogen was produced by adding water and acid to a chemical called toluene using solar power as the energy source in the electrochemical conversion process.

"The toluene is converted to a substance called methyl cyclohexane (or MCH), which is an energy efficient and safe method for transporting hydrogen," Professor Mackinnon said.

"In this form, hydrogen can be shipped using conventional road and pipeline infrastructure.

"Once it has arrived at its destination, the renewable hydrogen is extracted from the MCH and the toluene can be re-used in the transportation cycle."

Hydrogen is explosive, but when bonded with oxygen in a controlled environment, the energy output is safe, allowing electricity to be produced while emitting only water.

Hydrogen technology has long been used to power satellite electronics and is beginning to be used in cars with electric motors.

Car manufacturer Hyundai is embracing hydrogen as emissions-free fuel and is ready to start delivering hydrogen fuel cell vehicles for the Australian market later this year.

The technology could also be used for electricity grid supplies, provided enough hydrogen can be supplied.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the announcement marked another major milestone in Queensland's progress towards a commercially viable hydrogen industry.

"The demonstration of renewable hydrogen being successfully exported overseas is an exciting first step in producing and exporting hydrogen at a commercial scale in the future," she said.

Ms Palaszczuk also announced $250,000 in funding for the establishment of a renewable hydrogen pilot plant at the Redlands Research Facility.

"This will ensure the knowledge within the hydrogen industry in Queensland continues to grow at pace with the international market," she said.

The state government's Hydrogen Strategy is set to be released later this year.