Professor Gerhard Swiegers, an electrochemist at the University of Wollongong, has received a prestigious award and a grant of $3.7 million for his groundbreaking work on improving the efficiency of hydrogen electrolysers.
This breakthrough technology is being commercialized by the startup Hysata, where Professor Swiegers serves as the Chief Technology Officer.
The University of Wollongong researcher was named a 2023 Australian Research Council (ARC) Industry Laureate Fellow and received the significant grant to support the development and market entry of capillary-fed hydrogen electrolysers. These electrolysers are based on a discovery made by Professor Swiegers and his team, who found that by utilizing capillary-fed electrolysis, they were able to significantly enhance the overall efficiency of the system from the average of 75% to an impressive 95%.
Hysata is currently in the process of manufacturing these high-efficiency electrolysers, aiming to capitalize on the growing market for green hydrogen. It is projected that by 2050, green hydrogen will account for 15% to 20% of global energy demand, amounting to a market worth approximately $2.5 trillion. Professor Swiegers believes that this new technology can position Australia to capture a significant share of this market.
The technology itself was developed at the Intelligent Polymer Research Institute and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science, both affiliated with the University of Wollongong. The breakthrough holds great potential for advancing the use of hydrogen as a clean and sustainable energy source, with implications for various sectors including transportation, energy storage, and industrial processes.
The efficient production of hydrogen through electrolysis is crucial for scaling up its use as a viable alternative to fossil fuels. Traditional electrolysis processes have faced challenges in terms of energy efficiency and cost-effectiveness. However, Professor Swiegers’ capillary-fed electrolysis approach presents a promising solution, offering a significantly higher overall efficiency compared to conventional methods. This advancement brings us closer to realizing the full potential of hydrogen as a key contributor to a carbon-neutral future.