Technology development company Hazer Group (ASX: HZR) has reported “significant improvements” in average production rates during pre-pilot testing phase of its low-emission hydrogen and graphite process, bringing it one step closer to commercialisation.
Final test runs on the company’s first generation fluidised bed reactor (FBR) pre-pilot plant have recorded a 400% increase in the average production rate of hydrogen and graphite with negligible carbon dioxide emissions, compared to initial runs reported in late 2017.
An average production of nearly a kilogram of graphite has been achieved in a single run with an equivalent production rate of more than 5.5kg per day of total products, comprising unpurified graphite and hydrogen content and representing an increase of approximately 400% on previously reported figures.
Hazer said the first generation tests successfully demonstrated the technology’s continuous production at full operating conditions.
“It was just shy of meeting [the] bulk graphite production target of 1kg however [it] was able to generate this graphite at over four times the targeted rate,” the company said.
The company will now progress to a second generation pre-pilot plant upgrade in order to optimise FBR throughput and hydrogen and graphite purity.
The upgrade will be designed to significantly improve all metrics, in particular graphite capacity and bulk graphite production which are a tenfold increase on first generation targets.
The plant is currently being commissioned and tested in Sydney, ahead of transportation to Perth.
Commercialising the Hazer Process
Hazer Group was founded in 2010 to commercialise a low-cost, low-emission, “clean” hydrogen technology known as the Hazer Process, considered to be a valuable contributor in the transition to a low carbon economy.
In addition to hydrogen, the process produces high-quality synthetic graphite used in lithium-ion batteries, lubrication and industrial applications.
Hazer’s technology enables the effective conversion of natural gas and similar feedstocks into hydrogen and graphite, using iron ore as a process catalyst.
The company’s first generation pre-pilot plant – designed to demonstrate the suitability of the Hazer Process with FBR systems – was constructed to test technical features essential for the large-scale commercialisation, including continuous online catalyst injection and graphite removal, and suitability of design for a range of operating conditions such as elevated pressure.
Second generation upgrades will aim to increase the system’s production capacity, improve product purities and enable the system to operate for extended durations.
Once the pre-pilot tests are completed, Hazer said it will focus on a demonstration plant to include most ancillary plant functions and enable full system integration testing as well as further product and energy optimisation.
At mid-afternoon, shares in Hazer Group were up 21.05% to A$0.23.