Hydrogen generation and storage

  • Project summary

    Hydrogen is a promising next generation renewable energy to reduce carbon footprint. Water electrolysis is a promising route to produce hydrogen, however, this process has not been well designed and optimised. This project aims to develop a highly-efficient electrolysis system by combining CFD approaches and lab experiments for exploring the optimised design, configuration and productivity.

    Novelty and contribution:

    Supported by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), this project will develop new design tools for optimising the process of photo-voltaic electrolysis (PVE), in terms of e.g. bubbles resistance, ionic resistance, new membrane materials in the electrolyser. Subsequently, the optimisation can be applied to increase the electrolyser efficiency.

    Expected outcome:

    This project will develop a comprehensive electrolyser model for simulating the complicated electrochemical phenomenon in the electrolyser system and thereby providing the necessary information for the technology upgrading. A number of scientific articles and conference presentations will also be produced within the duration of the project.

    The model development is challenging and demanding. We welcome students who have experience in water electrolysis process/electrolyser and CFD modelling, or are interested in solving challenging problems to join our group. We could provide scholarships for both domestic and international students.

    Shen Lab of Process Modelling and Optimisation of Reacting Flow (ProMO)
  • The current renewable devices fail to achieve satisfactory efficiency, due to a lack of in-depth understanding of the materials processing and materials properties. Phase diagrams are powerful tools to characterise and select potential materials. This project will develop phase diagrams for renewable energy-focused materials by combing the experimental methods and thermodynamic optimisation methods using XRD, SEM-EDS, DTA, and CALPHAD techniques. This project will contribute a set of reliable thermodynamic database of the related renewable energy materials and also work as a cost-effective tool to design scientific experiments and manufacture of alloy.

    We earnestly welcome students who are interested in this project to join our group. Various scholarships could be applied for both domestic and international students. Moreover, the research experience and skills acquired during PhD study will secure job opportunities in the future.

    Shen Lab of Process Modelling and Optimisation of Reacting Flow (ProMO)
  • Project summary:

    Hydrogen is the most promising energy source that can be applied environmentally friendly and economically. One key issue in hydrogen industry is to effectively store hydrogen. This project aims to conduct the process and design optimisation of the hydrogen storage system, including the internal structure configuration, materials, and operating conditions. To improve the performance of the storage system, a series of new designs will be proposed and numerically examined to evaluate their performance. It is expected that we can achieve the technological innovation of hydrogen storage in the near future. A number of scientific articles and conference presentations will also be produced within the duration of the project.

    We welcome students who are interested in renewable energy and numerical modelling technology to join us. We can provide various scholarships for international and domestic students. 

    Shen Lab of Process Modelling and Optimisation of Reacting Flow (ProMO)
    Shen Lab of Process Modelling and Optimisation of Reacting Flow (ProMO)
  • Hydrogen is emerging as a promising alternative to traditional fossil fuels due to its high energy density and potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. One of the most promising methods for large-scale hydrogen production is through the use of water electrolysis, which involves the splitting of water into hydrogen and oxygen using an electrolyser. However, the efficiency of water electrolysis is limited by the design of the flow channels in the electrolyser. The flow channels play a crucial role in distributing the reactants and removing the products from the electrode surfaces, which directly affects the performance and efficiency of the electrolyser. In this project, we aim to apply CFD modeling techniques to optimize the design of the flow channels in a water electrolyser for highly efficient hydrogen production. We will investigate the effects of various flow channel parameters such as geometries, flow rates, and electrolyte properties on the performance of the electrolyser. Furthermore, we will employ optimisation algorithms to identify the optimal flow channel design that maximizes the efficiency of hydrogen production. The ultimate goal of this project is to develop an efficient and cost-effective water electrolyser design that can contribute to the widespread adoption of hydrogen as a clean energy source. The findings from this project have the potential to make a significant impact on the development of efficient hydrogen production technologies and support the transition to a more sustainable energy future. Talented students who are interested in these projects are most welcome, and various scholarships are available for both domestic and international students. The research experience during PhD study will prepare you for job prospects in research institutions or universities.


    Shen Lab of Process Modelling and Optimisation of Reacting Flow (ProMO)
  • Water electrolysis typically requires ultra-purified water directly in membrane electrolysers (proton exchange membrane water electrolysers, PEMWE; anion exchange membrane water electrolysers, AEMWE). The key challenges in the direct electrolysis of saline water have long been identified and discussed, and remain major issues today. The main one is the small particulates in the saline water, which may poison electrodes/catalysts and limit their long-term stability. This project is aiming at a microscale study of the particle transport in the porous transport layer of membrane electrodes, finding the underline mechanism of the particle blockage, which could provide guidance on membrane electrolyser design and scale-up for hydrogen generation.

    We welcome both domestic and international students to join this project. A variety of scholarships are available for highly competitive candidates, such as the UNSW Scientia PhD scholarship, Tuition fee +50k pa, and UNSW Scholarships to international/domestic students - Tuition fee +35k pa and a  Project Scholarship available in Prof. Shen's Lab, tuition fee +35k pa.