Research

Hydrogen Infrastructure Durability and Risk

Group leader: Dr Igor Chaves

Hydrogen is known to affect the properties and service life of critical and valuable infrastructure, for example gas transmission and storage systems. Our team exhibits expertise in risk mitigation related to infrastructure deterioration due to corrosion, as well as corrosion mitigation technologies. We have the proven capability to conduct combined studies in real world and controlled laboratory settings to predict service life - risk behavior and test and improve mitigation strategies for infrastructure subject to hydrogen corrosion and embrittlement. We are further developing novel materials that can contain uncontrolled hydrogen combustion via combined flame attenuation and controlled energy absorption.


Thermal Management of Hydrogen Fuel Cells

Group leader: A/Prof. Thomas Fiedler

Our group combines over 50 years of experience in thermal and mass transfer research. The efficient thermal management of fuel cells remains the key obstacle towards their widespread application. Part of our research focuses on the use of metal foam heat exchangers instead of existing technology for heat removal purposes. A novel air-cooled fuel cell stack design is expected to not only lead to much better heat removal but also give a 50% savings in material costs and up to 20% less fuel consumption compared with present state-of-the-art technology. These ambitious targets become perfectly feasible due to the integration of specially designed metallic foams into fuel cell stacks to replace costly multi-channel heat exchangers. Our innovative cooling solutions can readily be adapted for cost-efficient temperature control of a vast number of electronic devices and processes in the hydrogen industry.


Photocatalytic Hydrogen Generation

Group leader: Dr Dylan Cuskelly

The sustainable generation of hydrogen from sunlight and water underpins the renewable aspect of the hydrogen economy. Photocatalysis is a process, which uses the energy in sunlight to split water in a low risk and simple process. The efficiency of this process can be enhanced by improvements in the catalysts used in the reaction, such as the addition of plasmonic materials to create plasmon enhanced photocatalysis. We are developing targeted plasmonic material synthesis and analysis processes for a range of applications at various scales. Collaborations with industry partners and CSIRO will allow us to best create solutions that benefit the industry most.

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.