Specialised engineering services and pipeline business SRJ Technologies (ASX: SRJ) has announced a new partnership with Curtin University and precision machining firm SixDe to develop hydrogen-compatible pipe technology.
The project is expected to start in the fourth quarter with completion scheduled for the first quarter of 2023.
The proposed project focuses on the proof of concept and manufacturing commercialisation of a new weld-free coupling technology for pipelines to meet the requirements of the emerging hydrogen industry.
According to SRJ, this technology would eliminate the need for welding of pipeline joins, thereby mitigating the occurrence of hydrogen embrittlement or weld cracking.
This project will also explore the further enhancement of manufacturing materials and processes with specific application to hydrogen.
SRJ chief executive officer Alexander Wood said the company is pleased to have secured a leading university and manufacturing partner to assist with the development of this technology.
“Undertaking this project enables SRJ to work alongside major companies during the energy transition cycle and generate future opportunities to derive revenue from the new technology,” he added.
SRJ has identified opportunities to patent the new coupling technologies and the associated manufacturing processes for hydrogen applications.
The lab work and testing activities for material compatibility and performance, to be undertaken by Curtin University, will have applicability to further extend research within the materials field (metallurgical and polymeric), to foster innovation by industry in hydrogen energy.
SRJ also noted the intellectual property generated from the project could extend to further applications for the hydrogen energy industry.
The future of hydrogen
Hydrogen is expected to play a significant role in low-carbon energy systems in the future with the energy source forecast to provide up to 18% of global energy demand by 2050.
As global economies increasingly look to incorporate progressively higher proportions of renewables as a part of their energy mix, demand for infrastructure and services that support the efficient storage and transport of hydrogen is a growth area.
“This has highlighted challenges with regard to the transport of hydrogen gas and other hydrogen-bearing compounds, which has been shown in some circumstances to cause hydrogen embrittlement or cracking in the welds of transmissions pipelines,” SRJ stated.