Financing the quest for endless energy (Day 127)

Hello and welcome to today’s Chemeng365 blog. I’m currently enjoying meeting many chemical engineers in some of IChemE’s membership hot-spots in the Asia Pacific and Australasia regions.

Having just enjoyed a successful Chemeca 14 conference in Perth, Australia, I thought I’d keep the Australia theme going with an interesting hydrogen energy story from New South Wales.

Merlin - benefits of hydrogen

Graphic courtesy of MERLin

You may have spotted a blog recently about the Hy-cycle – a bicycle powered by a hydrogen fuel cell.

It’s just one of the interesting projects coming out of Australia at the moment attempting to develop hydrogen as a source of clean energy.

Some of the work is being driven by a research group called MERLin, which is based at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Australia.

MERLin is an energy research group focusing on the use of hydrogen as a clean energy vector. It is headed by Dr Kondo-Francois Aguey-Zinsou within the School of Chemical Engineering at the University of New South Wales.

MERLin’s expertise is in the synthesis, characterisation and application of nanosized hydride materials They are working to create a fundamental understanding of the behavior of hydride materials at the nanoscale.

Their aim is to deliver a first generation of room temperature hydrogen storage materials within ten years.

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EnergyH

However, there is a problem many of us face to advance and commercialise technology – funding.

This week MERLin launched The EnergyH Project which is about making hydrogen the new energy carrier.

It is a crowd-funding project to build a new community “The EnergyH people” to support research in clean energy and commercialise hydrogen based technologies.

It is a well put together campaign with lots of information and materials including a EnergyH YouTube page.

MERLin’s crowd-fundraising page is also live and they have some very ambitious targets.

Merlin Funding goal

The team at MERLin are very explict and critical of the Australian Government. They are especially concerned about funding cuts to science and technology, policy short-termism, and what they perceive to be their Government’s focus on making quick returns from Australia’s fossil fuels. (NB – I’ll be blogging my own verdict on the recent Climate Change Summit in a few days).

For their research to continue, MERLin need “sustained funding so this technology is developed in Australia and stays in Australia”.

You can find out more about what Dr Kondo-Francois Aguey-Zinsou and his team are trying to achieve with in their campaign video below. We wish them well with their fundraising.