Development of Novel Catalysts to Efficiently Produce Ammonia via Electrochemical Processes

TEAM: Miss Maggie Lim, Dr Emma Lovell, Scientia Prof Rose Amal, and Dr Rahman Daiyan

Ammonia and its derivatives have been used widely, with over 200 millions tons produced via the Haber-Bosch process, which accounts for more than 2% of global energy consumption and generating ~1.4% carbon dioxide emissions globally. The process is economically limited to only large-scale production and strongly dependent on fossil fuels for pure hydrogen feedstock. More recently NH3 is vastly explored as one of the most promising hydrogen energy carriers to facilitate global hydrogen economy however there is a need for the process to be greener. This project is looking into green ammonia production by using plasma-electrolyser hybrid system to convert air and water into intermediary NOx and subsequently being synthesized into NH3. The approach provides opportunity for complete green energy cycle and decentralized local production. The generated NH3 can be readily used as H2 fuel via NH3 splitting or feedstock in industry.

Recent publications: 

Nitrate reduction to ammonium: From CuO defect engineering to waste NOx-to-NH3 economic feasibility, , 14(6), 3588–3598.

Modelling Power-to-X Pathways for Closing the Carbon Loop: An Australian Perspective

TEAM: Mr Jacobus van AntwerpenScientia Prof Rose Amal, Dr Rahman Daiyan and Dr Tze Hao Tan

Power to X is a series of technological pathways of connected processes, technologies and applications focused on the generation, storage, conversion, and utilization of clean energy. These pathways serve to expand the decarbonising potential of renewable energy to applications either too expensive or beyond the reach of ‘direct’ electrification. Chemical energy carriers allow for cost-effective long-distance transport and storage of clean energy, carbon neutral synthetic fuels for substitution in key fuel consuming industries, and carbon neutral feedstocks for decarbonising further down the value chain of chemical and manufacturing industries. Power to X will require coordination across multiple industries and sectors to integrate the required technologies and logistical frameworks from power generation and conversion, through to storage and utilization. The aim of this research is to reduce uncertainty surrounding the feasibility and effectiveness of Power-to-X pathways with specific emphasis on those with potential for closing the carbon loop. This work will extend beyond current literature by addressing the flagged gaps listed above through process modelling and analysis focusing on the incorporation of variation of carbon capture point source type and scale, intermediate feedstock and energy storage systems for integration with standalone renewable energy sources, and potential technologies and configurations to allow for renewable integration of process heating and electrical utilities within carbon capture and energy carrier generation processes.

Techno-Economic Feasibility of Hydrogen Production - A Case Study of Australia

TEAM: Mr Muhammad Haider Khan, Dr Rahman DaiyanScientia Prof Rose Amal, and Prof Iain Macgill


​Australia has the potential to emerge as leading hydrogen economy due to its vast natural resources, stable government and industry interest as well as commitments to transition to clean energy future. It is imperative to recognize and identify business opportunities that would capture both economic and environmental benefits of transiting to clean hydrogen fuel, but this will require in-depth understanding and analysis of hydrogen value chains.
The aims of this project are to determine the cost of generating hydrogen in Australia, with a prime focus on improving sustainability and economics of the hydrogen value chains (that includes production, storage/transport, and utilization of hydrogen) while reducing the environmental footprint; and to develop techno-economic tools to evaluate the feasibility of hydrogen production/utilization in different existing, proposed, and future business case scenarios using Australia as a primary case study. 

Recent publications: 

•    Designing optimal integrated electricity supply configurations for renewable hydrogen generation in Australia, IScience, 24(6).

•    A framework for assessing economics of blue hydrogen production from steam methane reforming using carbon capture storage & utilization, International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 46(44), 22685–22706. 

•    NSW Power to X (P2X) Industry Pre- Feasibility Study: A Roadmap for a P2X economy in NSW”. Australia: UNSW Sydney, 2021: 

•    The Case for an Australian Hydrogen Export Market to Germany: State of Play Version 1.0. UNSW Sydney, Australia. DOI: 26190/35zd-8p21 

Technoeconomic models for hydrogen generation and utilization including Life Cycle Assessment for hydrogen technologies

TEAM: Mr Jack Shepherd, Prof Iain MacgillDr Rahman Daiyan and Scientia Prof Rose Amal

Taking a multidisciplinary approach, this project will model existing and emerging low-carbon hydrogen generation pathways and utilization. The output from the analysis will be used to identify technical, economic, safety, social and regulatory factors that contribute towards the challenges the hydrogen industry faces for widespread adoption and provide a basis from which to evaluate possible solutions. To address the challenge of decarbonisation and ensure the hydrogen industry adopts low emission technologies, Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) will be used as a tool to evaluate existing and emerging hydrogen technologies. The output from the LCA of hydrogen technologies will be used in conjunction with the output from the Technoeconomic analysis to identify clear pathways that can address the key challenges and contribute to growing the hydrogen industry in Australia and internationally