Researching Hydrogen Energy Exports Affiliated UWA Appointed 2020
Dr Arman Siahvashi will help advance the science necessary to remove some of the constraints on Australia’s ability to access, reliably produce and export its hydrogen endowment. Essentially, the constraints arise from inadequate fundamental knowledge of a cost-effective, safe, scalable and predictable hydrogen production, liquefaction and storage system. The research will be carried out at UWA in collaboration with the Future Energy Exports CRC (cooperative research centre) led by Professor Eric May. This CRC aims to revolutionise Australia’s low- and zero-emission energy export industries through scientific research and innovation to benefit the environment, economy, and science.
Arman’s work has been recognised by several prestigious awards: Fulbright Scholarship, Woodside Early Career Scientist of the Year 2020 (finalist), One of Australia’s Most Innovative Engineers 2019, ExxonMobil Student Scientist of the Year 2018, Australia’s National Measurement Institute Prize 2018, and WA Innovator of the Year (finalist) in 2018 and 2019. Arman’s research helps the environment by reducing carbon emissions, significantly improves plant operation safety and risk assessments, and drives economic growth and sustainable development. His work has also led to collaborations with scientists at NASA/JPL due to its relevance to their lunar hydrogen projects and also dissolution geology of Saturn’s moon Titan.
During his PhD studies Arman developed an innovative apparatus to accurately measure the freezing temperature of trace impurities at extreme cryogenic temperatures which helps solve the costly blockages issues and mitigate significant safety hazards facing the two key Western Australian export industries: liquefied natural gas (LNG) and liquid hydrogen (LH2). Hydrogen, as an energy carrier will play a key role in enabling a clean, secure and affordable energy future. Decarbonisation by energy importers presents an opportunity for Australia to leverage the know-how, capability, infrastructure and supply chains of our existing LNG industry, and build on our world-class renewable energy resources to establish a global leading position in the nascent hydrogen export industry.
More about liquid hydrogen
Production of LH2 is technically demanding. At LH2’s extremely low temperatures (~-253 degC) the risks associated with the freeze-out of impurities (moisture, air, oxygen, etc.) become more significant than in LNG production which can cause explosions (due to the system’s over-pressurization) and even loss of lives. The severity of the safety hazards, financial loss and the environmental impact associated with LH2 blockage-induced shutdowns are significantly high. This is similar to how build-up of fat and cholesterol can block our arteries and lead to heart attacks and death. To date, there is no experimental work in the open literature determining the minimum allowable amount of such impurities to avoid those plant shutdowns. Lack of relevant experimental solid-liquid equilibrium data at LH2 conditions makes any model predictions and simulations inaccurate and unreliable.