The world is transitioning from a heavy industrialisation phase, where access to lower-cost inputs was the priority, toward a technology-driven paradigm that aims to reduce the impact of that industrialisation in the continued pursuit of economic growth.

Our Managing Director Glenn Fozard speaks with Ali Ukani from Peak Asset Management about our current projects and opportunities.


Environmental Clean Technologies Limited (ASX: ECT) (“ECT” or “Company”) is pleased to announce the signing of a binding Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) with GrapheneX. This agreement supports the rollout of Phase 2 of ECT’s Bacchus Marsh COLDry project (the Project) to deliver a world-first demonstration of the Company’s proposed commercial-scale net-zero hydrogen and electricity production. To support the rollout of Phase 2, ECT is also pleased to announce that it has received firm commitments from sophisticated investors to raise $5m under a placement which was joint led by Kaai Capital and Peak Asset Management.

Set to become the largest demonstration of its type in Australia

The JVA upgrades will enable the first-of-a-kind demonstration of low emission electricity production from syngas and the generation of hydrogen derivative products from lignite and waste biomass blends, making it the largest demonstration of its kind in Australia.

“Based on ECT’s internal engineering modelling, the upgraded Bacchus Marsh plant would have the capacity to produce up to 1000 tpa of Hydrogen that can be used for derivatives like formic acid and dimethyl ether (DME).”

Ashley Moore, Chief Group Engineer, ECT

GrapheneX will commit to supplying a multi-feedstock 39MW turbine to be installed at ECT’s Bacchus Marsh site. GrapheneX will also supply funding of $3.5m for installation of the turbine and the formic acid process equipment. The formic acid plant will demonstrate the production of formic acid (HCOOH) from the syngas product stream. Formic acid is a liquid organic hydrogen carrier that provides a safer, lower-cost hydrogen transport alternative[1] to ammonia or cryogenic hydrogen. In addition, it is also a product in its own right, used as a livestock feed preservative, amongst other applications.

ECT will commit $3.5m to the JVA, from which the company will fund the installation of the pyrolysis kiln and ancillary plant to produce char and syngas from COLDry pellets made from a blend of biomass and lignite.

ECT Managing Director, Glenn Fozard commented:

“Once installed, the process will be the largest hydrogen production capability from lignite. Add to that the largest demonstration of low emission electricity from lignite syngas, and we have a site of national significance. ECT shareholders and GrapheneX should be proud of this proposed development and the facility’s national profile will support increased interest from both industry and Government.”

The Project, similar to the HESC[2] project, aims to be a fully integrated supply chain solution for hydrogen. However, the key difference for ECT’s project is that, instead of focusing on high purity hydrogen, it will focus on hydrogen derivatives, which solve the immediate storage and transportation challenges. In addition, the Project does not require the CCS infrastructure that is being planned to curtail emissions for Blue Hydrogen projects. By eliminating two of the biggest challenges facing the immediate deployment of hydrogen production plants, the Project allows ECT and GrapheneX to focus on technical scale-up, commercial optimisations and further emissions and waste improvements.

Phase 2 of COLDry Demonstration Project to Commence

Phase 2 of the Project was placed on hold in October 2021 as part of the Company’s strategic review to allow a re-focus on formalising relationships with potential project partners, with the view to accelerate commercialisation and diversify project risk and funding.

The rollout of Phase 2 will establish R&D capability to support the development of:

The Company’s recently released corporate presentation highlighted the revised Phase 2 development plan, outlining the objective of demonstrating a net zero-emission hydrogen and agricultural char process, including:

Phase 1 of the Project, focusing on the scale-up of the Company’s world-first zero-emission COLDry lignite drying process, commenced commissioning in March.

Paving the way for ECT’s headline Net Zero Emission Hydrogen (NZEH2) Refinery project in Latrobe Valley

The commitment to Phase 2 of the Bacchus Marsh COLDry project also marks the next major step for the Company’s previously announced headline NZEH2 Refinery Hub project planned for deployment adjacent to the Yallourn mine and power station complex in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley.

Managing Director, Glenn Fozard commented:

“We are excited to continue developing our demonstration project at Bacchus Marsh in joint venture with GrapheneX. The addition of a turbine on-site, along with funding to build the pyrolysis kiln and formic acid process, will elevate the profile of our Hydrogen Hub at Bacchus Marsh and provide a working demonstration of technology that is proven, ready for deployment and most importantly, demonstrably net zero emission.”

Chairman of GrapheneX, Stephen Wee, commented:

“By providing the use of the turbine at the Bacchus Marsh site, GrapheneX is pleased to support the establishment of Australia’s largest demonstration of low-emission syngas as a feedstock for electricity. We see this as clear evidence that the partnership of ECT and GrapheneX is leading the charge towards implementing Victoria’s net-zero hydrogen refinery project in the Latrobe Valley.”

Introducing “Viridian Hydrogen”

With a rapidly emerging hydrogen space and a range of production methods competing for market share, colour codes have been loosely adopted to identify the production source and, by extension, the emissions profile.

The process being developed by ECT and GrapheneX is in a colour category of its own due primarily to its net-zero emission profile without the need for CCS (see table below).

The critical point of difference is the effective transformation of lignite, combined with waste biomass, into a valuable multiproduct stream:

  1. Clean energy – hydrogen and low emission electricity
  2. Soil health – agricultural char
  3. Critical minerals – graphitic carbon, battery anodic carbon & graphene

This outcome is achieved with net-zero emissions and zero waste discharge, delivering a transformative solution that allows for billions of dollars of improved economic value to be derived from Victoria’s lignite resource, aligned to emerging clean and circular industries and environmental sustainability.

Bacchus Marsh site to be developed into integrated Waste-to-Clean Energy Hub

ECT has commenced planning for the long-term use of its Bacchus Marsh site to become a fully integrated waste-to-clean energy hub.

The aim is to collaborate with both current and new partners to showcase a commercial application of many different low emission processes for turning waste into valuable energy products with a low to net-zero emission profile.

This will see further collaboration with industry partners over the coming weeks and months to identify leading-edge technology, recycling and refinery solutions for:

All technologies will be selected for their impact targeting:

ECT is currently in discussions with multiple parties, some advanced and some emerging, for technology acquisitions, collaborative integration of plant and equipment and strategic joint ventures in support of this initiative.

Joint Venture Key Terms

  1. Completion of the COLDry plant to produce feedstock for the pyrolysis kiln

ECT is responsible for the completion of the COLDry plant:

GrapheneX will be responsible for:

ECT is responsible for:

GrapheneX will be responsible for:

ECT is responsible for:

ECT will have no claim over any IP generated from the FA process or turbine demonstration and GrapheneX will have no claim over any IP generated from the COLDry-pyrolysis kiln demonstration or the char and syngas generation.

About GrapheneX

GrapheneX is an Australian pioneer in developing innovative manufacturing processes and material technologies capable of powering the fourth industrial revolution. The company is focused on developing technically feasible and commercially viable manufacturing processes for smart materials and digital platforms to enable Industry 4.0. GrapheneX Pty Ltd is also a founding industry partner of the Clayton Hydrogen cluster and plays a key role to test, trial and demonstrate new and emerging hydrogen technologies.

Placement Details

The Company is pleased to advise that it has received firm commitments to raise gross proceeds of $5m via a share placement to institutional and sophisticated investors. The share placement was strongly supported and will see several new institutional shareholders join the Company’s register.

The share placement will comprise the issue of 166,666,667 new fully paid ordinary shares (“Placement Shares”) at an issue price of $0.03 per share (“Placement”). Completion of the Placement is expected to occur on or around 3 May 2022. In addition to the Placement, for every 3 shares issued under the Placement, the Company will issue 2 free attaching listed options with the same terms as the Company’s existing listed option on issue (each exercisable at $0.03 expiring 23 February 2023 with ASX code ECTOE (‘’Placement Options’’). The first attaching Placement Option will be issued pursuant to the Company’s 15% capacity under Listing Rule 7.1 and at the same time as the Placement Shares. The second Placement Option is subject to shareholder approval to be sought at a general meeting of the Company proposed to be held in June 2022 (Meeting).

166,666,667 of the Placement Shares shall be issued pursuant to the Company’s 15% capacity under Listing Rule 7.1.

The issue price represents a 9% discount to the last traded share price of 0.033 cents, 9% discount to the 5-day volume-weighted average share price, and 10% discount to the 30-day volume-weighted average share price.

Kaai Capital Pty Limited (‘’Kaai’’) and Peak Asset Management (‘’Peak’’) have been separately appointed to act as Joint Lead Manager for the Placement (JLM's). In consideration for lead managing the Placement, the Company will pay the JLMs a fee of 6% of the amount raised and issue to them (or their nominees) a total of 10.2M ECTOE options. Funds raised under the Share Placement will be applied as follows:

This announcement is authorised for release to the ASX by the Board of ECT.

For further information, please contact:

[1] Formic acid is liquid at ambient temperature and pressure, unlike other proposed methods which require low / extremely low temperature and high pressure, and specialised transport vessels.

[2] HESC refers to the Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain pilot project which aims to safely demonstrate the production and transport of clean liquid hydrogen from Victoria’s Latrobe Valley to Japan. 

Environmental Clean Technologies Limited (ASX: ECT) (“ECT” or “Company”) is pleased to announce the settlement of the recently announced property purchase adjacent to the Yallourn power station and mine complex and the acceptance of its HydroMOR patent application in the European Union.

Yallourn Property Acquisition

Above: Overview of the Yallourn power station, with the recently purchased property highlighted (site) in proximity to the current lignite terminal upgrade (T15/16).

The site has been acquired to host the deployment of the Company’s proposed headline hydrogen refinery project in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley (the Project), which aims to deliver:

The Company signed a binding purchase agreement with the vendor in late November 2021. With the final cash and share payments made today, completing the settlement of the land acquisition. The Company notes that the 25,000,000 shares transferred are subject to voluntary escrow for six months (to 22 August 2022). Refer to the ASX announcement entitled ‘Site Purchased for Proposed Hydrogen Refinery Project’ dated 23 November 2021 for transaction details.

Covering an area of 4.2Ha, the property (shown below) will allow the Company to progress its full feasibility study with the confidence that work may start on this site at ECT’s discretion, as and when feasibility results drive activities. The property is strategically located adjacent to the T15/16 upgrade project that is being co-developed by ECT and the owner of the Yallourn mine and power station, EnergyAustralia.

The site's suitability is reinforced by the fact that a previous lignite de-watering and briquetting project underwent significant site feasibility and planning approvals in 2013. Although that project did not proceed, the vendor has shared planning documents with ECT. The site also includes the formerly named “Powerhouse Hotel” building, leveraging existing infrastructure to provide office space, training and laboratory facilities for the Project.

HydroMOR Patent Accepted in European Union

Further to the acceptance of the Company’s first HydroMOR patent in the jurisdiction of Russia, notification has been received confirming the acceptance of the patent in the European Union.

The HydroMOR process offers an alternative to conventional CO2-intensive blast furnace steelmaking, enabling the use of lower-cost, abundant lignite in place of higher-cost coking coal, delivering a lower emission, lower cost, metal production process. The Company remains excited about the potential industrial applications for this technology.

The table below outlines the status of the various international patent applications for HydroMOR.

International Patent Application Status - HydroMOR 

Case Ref. CountryCase Status
35519103 India Response to Exam Report Filed 
35526602 Australia Exam requested 
35526603 Canada Application filed 
35526604 China Response to Exam Report Filed 
35526605 European Patent Office Accepted
35526606 Russian Federation Accepted 
35526607 United States of America Examination report received 
35527133 Indonesia Response to Exam Report Filed 
35540529 Hong Kong Application filed 

This announcement is authorised for release to the ASX by the Board of ECT.

For further information, please contact:

It's true what they're saying over at the Motley Fool.

Investors are catching on to the emerging hydrogen market potential.

We're working to develop our net-zero hydrogen refinery, which could deliver H2 well under $3kg before 2030.

These were the 5 best-performing ASX hydrogen shares of November

The Motley Fool | Brooke Cooper | 8 December 2021

If you owned these ASX hydrogen stocks in November, you picked a winner.

Hydrogen has taken the ASX by storm in 2021, boosting shares involved with the energy source into the spotlight, and it was no different in November.

Read moreThese were the 5 best-performing ASX hydrogen shares of November

Hydrogen is a hot topic.

We recently announced our proposed hydrogen hub project for Victoria's Latrobe Valley.

Today, the Latrobe Valley Express picked up our story, providing local coverage of our plans to deliver a net-zero hydrogen refinery.


Hydrogen refinery project proposed for Yallourn

2 Dec 2021 | Michelle Slater | Latrobe Valley Express

A Melbourne-based company has secured a site to build a net-zero hydrogen refinery at Yallourn to create low emissions hydrogen and agricultural char from lignite.

Environmental Clean Technologies has purchased four hectares on Yallourn Drive on the site of the former Powerhouse Hotel, which would be converted into offices, laboratories and training areas.

Read more

The team over at STOCKHEAD picked up on our announcement yesterday, as part of their coverage of the impact of the energy transition on Victoria's Latrobe Valley, home to the world's single largest lignite resource.

Victoria’s home of coal is serious about going green

STOCKHEAD | Jessica Cummins | 24 November 2021

More than 80% of Victoria’s coal is found in the Gippsland Basin off the southeast coast of the state.

It is here, in the Latrobe Valley, that an estimate resource of around 65 billion tonnes makes up around 25% of the world’s known brown coal reserves.

Read more

Environmental Clean Technologies Limited (ASX: ECT) (“ECT” or the “Company”) is pleased to announce the purchase of a site, suitable for the deployment of its proposed headline hydrogen refinery project in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley (the Project), which is aimed at delivering net-zero emission hydrogen, agricultural char and other valuable products.


The property, located immediately adjacent to the Yallourn mine and power station, will host the Project, which was outlined in ECT's announcement on 15 November 2021, titled “ECT Commences Full Feasibility for its Headline Project”. Covering an area of 4.2Ha, the property (shown below) will allow the Company to progress its full feasibility study with the confidence that work may start on this site at ECT’s discretion, as and when feasibility results drive activities. The property is also near the T15/16 upgrade project that has been jointly funded by ECT and the owner of Yallourn mine and power station, EnergyAustralia.

Image: Overview of the Yallourn power station, with the recently purchased property highlighted (site) in proximity to the current lignite terminal upgrade (T15/16).

The suitability of the site is reinforced by the fact a previous lignite de-watering and briquetting project in 2013 underwent significant site feasibility and planning approvals. Although this project did not proceed, planning documents are being shared with ECT by the vendor. The site also includes the formerly named “Powerhouse Hotel” building, leveraging existing infrastructure to provide office space, training and laboratory facilities for the Project.

The property acquisition also supports the Company’s application under the Federal Government’s Clean Hydrogen Industrial Hub grant program, which was submitted yesterday. The Federal Government expects to complete first round reviews in March 2022. In putting this grant application together, ECT has now developed a short-form feasibility document for the Project (the Project Pack) which is critical in developing and solidifying relationships essential to the full feasibility study, including, financial, off-take, technical, engineering and construction partners.

In the coming months, in addition to providing the framework for the full feasibility plan, the Project Pack will help structure discussions with the proposed partners, as roles and relationships are formalised.

Managing Director Glenn Fozard commented:

“This is an exciting day for ECT as we move one step closer to realising the dream of helping transition Victoria’s vast world-class lignite resource away from its traditional high emission use, toward low and zero-emission applications that can deliver a range of economic and environmental outcomes.”

The Company looks forward to providing further updates as activities progress.

Material Terms

This announcement is authorised for release to the ASX by the Board.


For further information, please contact:

Environmental Clean Technologies Limited (ASX:ECT) (“ECT” or “Company”) is pleased to provide the following update on the progress of the planning and development for its proposed commercial-scale project in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley, aimed at delivering a net-zero emission hydrogen refinery.


Net Zero Emission Hydrogen Refinery Hub Project

ECT is developing a ground-breaking new project for deployment in the Latrobe Valley, which will deliver clean hydrogen, agricultural char, and other valuable products with a net-zero emission footprint.

ECT’s Coldry technology will form the core of the raw material processing system, acting as the gateway enabler for an integrated operating plant. Coldry provides low-cost, zero-emission dewatering and drying of incoming lignite and biomass streams, which will then be fed into a thermochemical decarbonisation process (partial pyrolysis), creating two major product streams:

  1. A hydrogen-rich synthesis gas (syngas), also containing other valuable industrial gases for downstream use, and;
  2. A char product containing most of the incoming carbon (in solid form)

Diagram (above): the project involves two phases; Phase 1 entails hydrogen industry activation via an integrated utilisation pathway at scale enabling the manufacture of hydrogen and formic acid. Building upon this foundation, Phase 2 entails hydrogen industry expansion, developing and deploying our proprietary COHgen technology, which represents a significant advancement on conventional hydrogen production methods, featuring 70% lower CO2 emissions.

The hydrogen-rich syngas is then utilised by integrated downstream applications within the project to produce hydrogen, formic acid and generate electricity.

Formic acid is a valuable industrial chemical and serves a range of uses. In particular, it is a form of hydrogen-carrier generated through consumption of CO2 and H2, utilising some of the process CO2 emissions while producing a valuable product. In addition to being a hydrogen carrier, its primary application is as a preservative and antibacterial agent for livestock feed, with Asia being the largest, fastest-growing market.

Under the project’s first phase, syngas can be diverted from formic acid production to electricity generation during peak demand periods, providing a low carbon transitional step away from conventional lignite power generation. Subsequent expansion of the project in line with industry activation will further transition from syngas-fired electricity to 100% hydrogen-based electricity.

Upon completion of the initial stage of the project, this will see ECT become Australia’s largest producer of agricultural char for soil health and soil CO2 sequestration, and a substantial manufacturer of hydrogen, formic acid and emission-free electricity.

ECT Managing Director Glenn Fozard commented:

“We initially commenced scoping for a commercial scale Coldry project back in 2017. At that time, we also started highlighting hydrogen technology development. Energy and climate policy has finally caught up to what we’ve been saying for several years, and the market is starting to recognise the true potential for our technology suite. The initial feasibility review indicates a strong commercial potential, and as a result, ECT will commence full feasibility for this project to ensure our submissions for Government funding are powerful, compelling and competitive.”

Significant Government Support

Underpinned by the proposed commercial-scale hydrogen refinery, the Project aims to establish a new regional hydrogen hub, delivering substantial value to the region and significant jobs, training, and research opportunities.

Over recent months, significant funding initiatives have been established across federal and state governments in the form of grant or funding programs to help stimulate technology-driven climate transition and activate nation-wide hydrogen industry development. The proposed Project is aligned with several of these programs, for which ECT is currently preparing submissions, including:

  1. InvestVictoria – ~$50 million Victorian State Government program providing low-interest R&D funding facilities from $250,000 to $4M secured against future R&D Tax Incentive rebates
  2. Clean Hydrogen Industrial Hubs program – $462 million Australian Government program to help establish clean hydrogen industrial hub projects via implementation grants of up to $70M
  3. The Low Emissions Technology Commercialisation Fund - $1 billion Australian Government fund targeting support for technology development via 1:1 investment matching

Regardless of the funding sources, the Project will feature the production and utilisation of hydrogen from waste biomass and Victoria’s vast, world-class lignite resource. This Project is designed to support the transition of lignite use away from emissions-intensive electricity generation to a range of low and net-zero emission applications for domestic and export markets, featuring:

Solving key barriers facing hydrogen industry activation in Victoria

The Project is designed to address challenges and obstacles to hydrogen industry activation in Victoria and the broader establishment of a hydrogen economy, including:

  1. High renewable hydrogen cost: Renewable hydrogen (made using electricity generated by wind and solar) is unlikely to meet price and volume requirements due to high cost, intermittency, and the demand from electricity consumers as further coal plants are retired
  2. Enabling infrastructure is required to activate competitive hydrogen production and utilisation within and export from Victoria
  3. Legacy asset constraints: The extent to which existing gas and other infrastructure can be adapted for future hydrogen use
  4. CCS Cost: The conventional approach to producing clean hydrogen from lignite, while cheaper than renewable hydrogen, is reliant on costly and complex carbon capture and storage (CCS); and
  5. Biomass supply constraints: Concerns exist around the total potential volume of clean hydrogen produced purely from biomass due to limited, seasonal supplies. Additionally, there is emerging evidence that questions the “green” status and sustainability of biomass combustion, which represents a potential future legislation risk to emissions standards for this feedstock.

A diversified approach is required to address the renewable hydrogen cost barrier, with ‘clean’ hydrogen extracted from the state’s vast, world-class lignite resource blended with biomass proposed under the Project. This approach will enable the timely development of scalable, affordable hydrogen production capacity, helping activate the industry in Victoria by justifying the deployment of the required infrastructure while solutions to bring down the high cost of renewable hydrogen technology are allowed to develop.

However, conventional hydrogen production methods from lignite emit CO2, requiring significant carbon capture and storage (CCS) to achieve the required low or zero-emission footprint.

The Company’s proposed Hydrogen Refinery provides a hydrogen production solution utilising Victoria’s vast lignite resource, blended with the available biomass, at a far lower cost than renewable hydrogen. In addition, unlike other methods for deriving clean hydrogen from lignite, the break-through net-zero approach being adopted by the Project does not require CCS and the associated costs.

Additionally, lignite will act as the reliable baseload of process feedstock, allowing for waste biomass utilisation without influencing primary biomass demand. Finally, due to maintaining the credentials of biomass recycling, biomass generated emissions from this Project will be future-proofed against possible legislation changes in this area, through soil CO2 sequestration offsets.

Eliminating Costly Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)

Conventional CCS involves the separation of CO2 from the process gas stream, followed by compression, liquefaction, transportation and storage in geologically suitable underground locations. While this conventional approach to CCS is technically well-understood, it is energy-intensive and expensive.

The Project steps outside the conventional CCS approach, adopting a carbon capture and utilisation route that delivers a net-zero emission, revenue-generating alternative via a combination of:

  1. CO2 utilisation to produce valuable industrial chemicals
  2. In-process capture of solid carbon to manufacture valuable agricultural char
  3. Char impacts on soil, enhancing atmospheric absorption of CO2

The char product is ideal for a range of markets and applications, the principal being that of agricultural soil additive or AgChar. This sequesters much of the process carbon and creates improved chemistry and biology within agricultural land that enhances soil productivity and triggers additional absorption of atmospheric CO2. This latter impact potentially takes the Project to a net-negative CO2 footprint. In addition, char process parameters can be tuned to produce an ideal char feedstock for high-value markets, including specialty metals reductant, solid smokeless fuel and battery anodic material, through further downstream processes.

This combination circumvents the need for conventional CCS development and infrastructure, creating a circular outcome whereby ‘waste’ from syngas production (char) is used to create a secondary product of value for agricultural and other applications.

The Project entails an integrated set of applications that consume the bulk of the available waste energy outputs, recycling that energy back into the gateway Coldry process to create a highly efficient platform for net-zero hydrogen production from lignite and biomass.

The Project Partners

ECT is currently in discussions with a range of parties to support the various aspects of the Project, including:

Formic Acid Production Partner

ECT will partner with GrapheneX to deliver the hydrogen utilisation element of the Project.

GrapheneX is an Australian pioneer in developing innovative manufacturing processes and material technologies capable of powering the fourth industrial revolution. The company is focused on developing technically feasible and commercially viable manufacturing processes for smart materials and digital platforms to enable Industry 4.0. GrapheneX Pty Ltd is also a founding industry partner of the Clayton Hydrogen cluster and plays a key role to test, trial and demonstrate new and emerging hydrogen technologies.


Initial activities around financial and commercial feasibility, site preparation and the commencement of engineering design and development is targeted to commence during H1 of CY2022, with financial investment decision (FID) to follow upon achieving successful feasibility results.

Regular updates will be provided on this Project as activities advance.

This announcement is authorised for release to the ASX by the Board.


For further information, please contact:

The team over at SmallCaps have been busy analysing the emerging, fast-moving hydrogen space.

They've also taken the time to break things down, explaining the basics:

  • What is hydrogen?
  • How is it produced?
  • Current uses
  • Global demand
  • Global production
  • Production costs
  • Australian government-funded initiatives

And, of course, they cover the Australian ASX-listed companies developing various solutions to address the many challenges in establishing and growing a new industry (yes, we're mentioned).

For our part, we see two direct opportunities in the context of the emerging hydrogen industry:

  1. Coldry, our low-temperature, lignite drying solution, which features zero-direct CO2 emissions, can be deployed as the front end feedstock preparation stage for standard coal gasification technology, which is the stage prior to the standard hydrogen production route known as steam reforming. It’s the gateway enabler for lignite-to-hydrogen production.
  2. COHgen, which stands for ‘catalytic organic hydrogen generation’, is our novel, low temperature, low emissions hydrogen generation technology currently under development that may provide a low-cost alternative to the steam reforming route to produce hydrogen from brown coal.

There is still a lot of work ahead to develop our COHgen process and confirm techno-economic viability at large scale, but we are engaged with various parties to advance opportunities to contribute to this rapidly emerging industry, including the Gippsland Region Hydrogen Committee as an advisory member, and as a member of the FEnEx CRC – Future Energy Exports Cooperative Research Centre –


Hydrogen stocks on the ASX: The Ultimate Guide

27 October 2021 | Danica Cullinane | SmallCaps

The list of ASX hydrogen stocks is expanding as companies get on board due to the increasing conviction the fuel is vital to achieving a clean and secure energy future.


There is a war being waged in the race to develop the dominant platform for electric vehicles.

Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (HFCVs) vs. battery electric vehicles (BEVs).

On one hand, you have Tesla, which has staked its future on BEVs.

On the other, you have a global consortium investing big to develop HFCVs and the supply chain needed to support them.

The difference between the two platforms is often lost on most consumers.

Carsales recently published this article by Feann Torr.

It's a good read for those wanting to understand the dynamics behind this fast-evolving market.

Key points:

  • Legislation is encouraging EV uptake in many countries
  • Companies are investing heavily in both hydrogen fuel cell and battery research
  • Recent advances in battery technology may be enough to see BEVs dominate in the long run
  • HFCVs may play a strategic role in mitigating risks around resource and energy security
  • Both platforms have their challenges

How this race plays out is of great interest to ECT.

We previously announced the fundamental research and development of our COHgen brown coal-to-hydrogen technology that, if successful through the scale-up process, may provide a lower-emission solution for affordable, reliable hydrogen production.

COHgen stands for Catalytic Organic Hydrogen generation.

The COHgen process stems from discoveries made during our Matmor and Hydromor research.

We're currently stepping through experimental activity to generate the new knowledge required to fully map the process parameters, with the aim of preparing a patent application in due course.

Meanwhile, here's a bit of background to the HFCV vs. BEV battle.

Key Differences

In the mind of consumers, the biggest issue for BEVs is range anxiety.

Using Tesla's new Model 3 as a relatively affordable BEV benchmark - it has a range of about 500km from a 75kWh battery - we start to understand the challenge to simply 'fill the tank'.

Charging at home using the most basic option takes a long time. Here in Australia, a 240 volt 10 amp (2.4kW) power socket will charge the Model 3 from empty to full in about 45 hours.

Stepping up your home charging by increasing the amps to 80 (19.2kW) would decrease the charge time to around 5 hours and 40 mins.

The fastest way to charge is at one of Tesla's 120kW 'supercharger' stations. It will give you a little over 'half a tank' in around 30 minutes or a 'full tank' in about 1 hour and 15 mins.

For most drivers, the ability to stop and quickly fill up on demand is essential, so it makes sense that industry research is focused on extending the battery range and decreasing charge times.

Conversely, Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles (HFCVs) can refuel in a few minutes, but access to refuelling infrastructure is almost non-existent, and they are more expensive than BEVs.

Each platform has its own logistics challenges as well.

HFCVs need to make and safely store and distribute hydrogen, which is difficult and costly.

BEVs need significant amounts of rare earth elements for battery manufacture, creating a potential raw material bottleneck. Extraction of rare earths impacts the environment just like any other mining activity, and their refining is highly polluting if done cheaply.

Fuel cost

While BEVs don't have a 'fuel' like petrol, diesel or hydrogen vehicles, they do require charging. The below article quotes $10 to charge a Tesla versus $60 to fill a hydrogen car.

The $10 figure seems a little off.

A Tesla Model 3 features a 75kWh battery and a range of 500km. Assuming a 69% efficient battery charging ratio, 108kWh is needed to 'fill the tank'. Australia's average retail electricity price, according to the AEMC, is around 30 cents per kWh. That's around $32 for a full charge.

A large family car such as the Toyota Kluger would use about $70 worth of petrol over the same distance ($1.50 per litre & 9.3L/100km).

EV owners get a free ride

Depending on the fuel efficiency of the car, owners of petrol vehicles pay between 3 to 9 cents per kilometre via petrol excise to use the roads.

Whether HFCV or BEV, neither pay petrol excise, effectively giving their owners a free ride while reducing government revenue.

That gap will need to be filled. The only fair option is a user-pays system based on vehicle size and distance travelled, which will inevitably require the introduction of some type of fee on EV owners.

BEVs are technically more efficient, but HFCVs make strategic sense in terms of energy and resource security

That's right. If we compare the efficiency of each platform, batteries are more efficient than HFCVs.

In the case of HFCVs, 100kWh of electricity used to make hydrogen via electrolysis will deliver around 23kWh of 'fuel', taking you 154km.

BEVs can take that same 100kWh and deliver about 69kWh of power, taking you 462km.

Assuming the ambition is a zero-CO2 footprint, this has huge implications for the number of wind turbines or solar panels required to move a nation's fleet of vehicles.

Using rough figures; If Australia hypothetically switched its fleet of 13 million passenger vehicles to BEVs tomorrow we'd need an additional ~4,950 wind turbines (3MW each) to make enough electricity to charge the batteries.

If we switched to HFCVs instead of BEVs, we'd need three times that many to make the hydrogen needed to move the fleet. Adding 15,000 wind turbines to split water to make hydrogen is a significant endeavour. So, it's understandable that the Japanese are pursuing the relatively 'compact' approach of brown coal to hydrogen.

So, the march is on. Which platform will eventually win out? Or will both co-exist like diesel and petrol?

Will other factors, such as access to resources influence the dominance of one platform over another? For example, Japan has no domestic rare earth sector and is spending $500 million on a pilot project to extract hydrogen from brown coal in Victoria's Latrobe Valley. If successful, this will provide a reliable hydrogen source for decades to come.

Conversely, China is the largest miner of rare earth elements needed for batteries, making BEV's a logical choice.

Companies like Tesla are focused on developing rare earth supply chains in South America.

Our view?

We anticipate increased research and development activity over the next decade.

Victoria's Latrobe Valley will be a focal point for the HFCV camp, with the industry seeking to produce affordable hydrogen from this world-class resource reliably.

If successful, COHgen could be an affordable route for the extraction of hydrogen from brown coal.


Hydrogen v solid-state battery EVs -

Major cities around the world are banning diesel-powered vehicles to improve air quality. Petrol cars are requiring particulate filters. China has confirmed it will ban the sale of all petrol and diesel cars in the near future and Europe continues to mandate stricter emissions regulations.

The combustion engine is being squeezed from every angle and the age of the electric vehicle (EV) is dawning.

Source: Hydrogen v solid-state battery EVs -