February Newsletter

Hunter Regional Conference

As hydrogen begins its journey in the energy transition, Star Scientific feels strongly about cooperating with other renewable energy businesses in our region. By talking collectively to governments about our common needs and aspirations, we can rapidly achieve our milestones.  It is also an excellent way to connect to suppliers, collaborators, and customers.

To that end, Star Scientific kicked off the year, in a public sense, by attending and exhibiting at the Hunter New Energy Symposium hosted by “New H2”, the Hunter Hydrogen Technology Cluster.  New H2 is a collaboration of a number of industry groups and the University of Newcastle.  This region, which is just to the north of our Research, Development, and Deployment Division on the Central Coast, has been identified by the Australian and State Government as a major hydrogen port and industry hub.

The conference program was jam-packed with very useful content, with some recurrent themes emerging that we have observed elsewhere in Australia.  Australia is densely populated in a few main cities and urban centres on our coasts, and as such, land is at a premium, and our burgeoning population is competing fiercely for residential land, particularly industrial land uses.

At the same time, coastal and rural communities are pushing back against the land and waterway impacts of the transition – solar farms, transmission lines and terrestrial and coastal wind farms. These matters will likely figure in Australia’s next national election. Happily, the community’s view towards hydrogen is neutral but it will nevertheless be an interesting couple of years as we map out our growth needs in our home country.

While the Newcastle conference allowed us to make a regional contribution, we move more locally next week, where we’ll be exhibiting at the Central Coast Industry Exhibition, organised by Central Coast Industry Connect.

Starscientific.com

Speaking of real estate, this time of the cyber-kind, Star Scientific is very pleased to announce that we have secured the starscientific.com domain.  We recently discovered the domain’s availability that we’ve been eager to obtain for a while and wasted no time in securing the rights. We will be transitioning from the “.com.au” domain over the coming months and will make it seamless for all.

Star Scientific on the world stage

Star Scientific will, again, be attending the SEC World Hydrogen Summit in Rotterdam on May 13-15. Our Global Group Chair, Andrew Horvath, continues as a member of the SEC Hydrogen Advisory Board.  Last year it expanded to 11,000 attendees, up from 1,100 in 2022, and it’s expected to grow again this year!  For those who are interested, a reminder that registration for the exhibition floor is free.

Following Rotterdam, we’ll be attending the SEC’s Americas Hydrogen Summit held in Washington, DC in June.  In our next Newsletter, we hope to bring you some exciting news related to our New Mexico plans.  Then later in the year, it will be back to the SEC Asia-Pacific Hydrogen Summit, this time in Brisbane.

If you’re interested in any of these events, please go to:  https://www.sustainableenergycouncil.com

December Newsletter

Looking forward to 2024

As 2023 draws to a close, it is time to “pan back” and have a look at the recent past, how it has affected us, and what the future holds.

It is clear that we have all just lived through an extraordinary period in human history.  Over the past two years, we have weathered a desperate global pandemic, wars, financial instability, and political uncertainty.  This has led to supply chain disruption, a “rehoming” of critical supply chains and investor uncertainty, impacting all global-facing businesses, including Star.

However, at Star Scientific, we are moving forward into 2024 with strong optimism, largely because the world is starting to see the future of hydrogen the way we do.

For years now we have attended conferences and meetings where we have diligently stuck to the message that industrial heat, not energy, was the early pathway for hydrogen’s financial success and social licence. Similarly, we have predicted that desalination and wastewater treatment would play a big role in hydrogen’s future.    For years we have opposed the orthodox thinking that burning hydrogen was the way to release its energy and we have warned that too much investment and thinking was going into the supply side at the exclusion of the demand side of hydrogen’s role in the transition.  More often than not, at these conferences, we were met with polite nods at best, but usually blank stares.

How things have changed.  Now, at every conference, there are sessions on process heat, indeed whole conferences are devoted to process heat alone.  In the United States, and in particular in the Southwest states of New Mexico, Texas, Arizona, Wyoming and Utah, to name a few, there is a massive effort going into wastewater treatment, backed by the IRA funding.  As each year goes by, the shortcomings of combined cycle gas-burning turbines are becoming clearer.

For Star Scientific, and particularly since our announcement regarding our future in New Mexico, this means an almost overwhelming interest in us from potential customers, suppliers, collaborators, and regulators, particularly, but not exclusively from the US.  Our team has kept busy meeting with these parties and making plans for further discussions next year.

We are particularly excited about the opportunities in water treatment and have ramped-up a pre-pilot design process to complement our existing pilots in process heat.

COP28 Out-takes

As veteran watchers of, and participants in, many editions of the annual Conference of Parties (COP), we have learned that it is behind the scenes of the headline-grabbing politics and speeches that the real advances are made.  This year was no different, and the most important outcome, for hydrogen and for us, was an agreement by 38 countries, including Australia, Germany, and the United States on the “Mutual Recognition of certification schemes for renewable and low-carbon hydrogen and hydrogen derivates.’

This will be an important step in making it easier to move hydrogen across borders and trade in it as a commodity.  Although not particularly exciting in a media or political sense, it is nevertheless these “dry” but important regulatory mechanisms that will be critical for hydrogen’s role in the energy transition.

You can read more at our LinkedIn site here: https://www.linkedin.com/company/star-scientific-limited/

Seasons’ Greetings

From all of us here at Star Scientific, we would like to wish you a happy, safe, restful, and reflective holiday season.  After a short break, our office will reopen from 2 January.  We look forward to working with you through an exciting 2024.

All the best.

November Newsletter

A Week of Announcements and Activity

Star Scientific APAC Summit | November Newsletter

Star Scientific was the “star” at the Asia-Pacific Hydrogen 2023 Summit & Exhibition produced by the Sustainable Energy Council (SEC) and in partnership with the Australian Hydrogen Council in Sydney, on 26th and 27th of October 2023. It was a major week of announcements and activities, and here is a summary below.

High-level Visits

Our big week began with a high-level business delegation from the German-Australian Chamber of Industry and Commerce, many of the delegates were representing businesses from the Stade Region of Lower Saxony, Germany. The delegates were given a briefing on HERO® and a tour of Star Scientific’s research and development facility, before moving on to a cruise of the Port of Newcastle, where our Deputy CEO, Matt Hingerty, joined them. We were very grateful that our local State Member of Parliament, David Meehan MP, visited us to officially welcome the guests.

On Wednesday we were honoured to be joined by the Governor of the State of New Mexico, Michelle Lujan Grisham, and her Environment Department Cabinet Secretary, James Kenney, along with senior Government officials for a tour of the facility, including a live demonstration of HERO®.

Hydrogen Summit Day 1

In a first for Star Scientific, we took out an exhibition booth, which was the first outing for our demonstration HERO® unit. This proved to be a great device for our Global Head of Research, Steve Heaton (and the rest of us) to explain how HERO® works to the exhibition attendees.

During the conference, we made our first major announcement. After New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham appeared on a conference panel, she was joined on stage by Star Scientific’s Global Group Chair, Andrew Horvath, and they jointly announced that it is our intention to establish our first US facility in Albuquerque, USA. Much media activity followed, particularly on the US side, and the volume of visitors to our exhibition booth increased dramatically.

Hydrogen Summit Day 2

The day commenced with a keynote speech from our Global Group Chair, Andrew Horvath. One of the things we noticed at the World Hydrogen 2023 Summit & Exhibition earlier in the year, and in the earlier panels of this conference, was negative sentiment towards the energy transition. This negative sentiment was being fuelled by local communities “pushing back” on wind, solar, hydro and transmission projects.

Andrew’s speech countermanded this sentiment. His key point, using HERO® as an example, was that scientific innovation would get us around some of these political issues. His point was that the renewable energy sources of the future may look very different to the solar farms, wind towers and transmission lines of today.

He also took the opportunity to announce our second pilot project for Central Coast packaging company, TrendPac, which is also part of the Central Coast Hydrogen Food Cluster.

Shortly following Andrew’s presentation, Steve Heaton and Matt Hingerty gave a slightly more detailed technical run-down on HERO®, and its commercial uses on the H2-Tech Series stage.

These speeches further increased the volume of people coming up to our stand, and the team were kept busy for the rest of the conference, fielding inquiries, and making appointments for further discussion.

All in all, it was a very satisfying week for us, and we’d like to thank everyone involved.

 

Additional Special Edition Newsletter

Additional Special Edition Newsletter

Friday 27th October 2023, 1pm AEDT
Sydney, Australia

Today at the Asia-Pacific Hydrogen Summit and Exhibition, hosted by the Sustainable Energy Council and the Australian Hydrogen Council, Star Scientific Limited’s Global Group Chairman, Andrew Horvath gave a keynote speech.

In the speech, Mr Horvath announced Star Scientific’s second pilot project, for Central Coast packaging company Trendpac.   Trendpac is a member of the Central Coast Food Hydrogen Cluster.

Mr Horvath also discussed Star Scientific’s optimistic view of the transition based on technological innovation.

Mr Horvath’s speech and associated media release are below.

Speech

Good morning.

Star Scientific is proud to be one of the main sponsors of this conference; as a member of the Hydrogen Advisory Board of the SEC, I lobbied hard to bring this conference to our shores. Australia has much to offer beyond our potential to make and export hydrogen. In my view, Our talent for innovation can accelerate this global transition more than a make-and-ship mentality can.

I want to acknowledge the many VIPs and delegates who have travelled from overseas at Star’s invitation to be here, and I would like to recognise Governor Grisham and Her Environment Secretary from the State of New Mexico, Mr James Kenney, who hosted Star Scientific when we visited that State last year.

Colleagues, we gather here in Sydney at a complex time for the energy transition; some may say we have entered troubled waters. Here in Australia, local communities are pushing back against the physical manifestations of the transition, be they solar or wind. Rural communities are expressing concerns about the sterilisation of farmlands, and coastal communities are protesting about offshore wind’s visual and environmental impacts. Hydro is not without its troubles, as we have seen with the Snowy Hydro II project. In the UK, we have seen the Government marching back the implementation dates for some of its policies. In Europe, we have seen protests about the cost to individuals of aspects of the transition.

My key message today is a message of resilience. We will get through these transition pains, and we will do so through the relentless march of technology and science. My message to regulators is to put policies in place to allow technological innovation to flourish, including in our schools, be open to innovation, and be wary about “locking in” technologies whose time may be limited.

Just as transport last century rapidly evolved from horse and steamships to personal cars and jet planes, the renewable energy sources of 2050 will look very different from today’s solar panels, wind turbines and batteries. What if there was something better?

Star Scientific makes it our business to scour the World for innovation on the supply side of the hydrogen equation, and I can tell you we have seen some fascinating technology indeed. These are not minor tweaks of existing technology but new, exciting ways of thinking.

At Star Scientific, we believe that human ingenuity and scientific curiosity’s relentless drive will overcome material issues. We believe this optimistic view is on the right side of history.

Our product, HERO®, which is on the demand side of the hydrogen equation, is an example of this ingenuity.

HERO® is the globally patented invention of Star Scientific Ltd, a private Research and Development company based on the NSW Central Coast.

About five years ago, as part of our materials research, we developed a profound breakthrough: an award-winning catalyst called the Hydrogen Energy Release Optimiser, or HERO®.

HERO® chemically oxidises hydrogen and oxygen into high levels of heat very quickly and without any output other than pure water. In controlled experiments, a video you can see at our exhibition stand, we reach 700+ degrees Celsius in three minutes.

Indeed, earlier this week, we ran a live demonstration for the Australia-German Chamber of Commerce delegation and New Mexico Governor Grisham. I thank them for taking the time to visit our facilities.

The critical thing about HERO® is that it is a “true catalyst” – meaning it is not “used up” in the process. Once the gasses are removed, it reverts to its inert state. That disc you can see in this slide has been used hundreds of times and shows no deterioration.

HERO® is made from relatively common, non-toxic elements. We do not have the same supply-chain issues that other aspects of the renewable energy transition find challenging. Our inputs are sourced from responsible supply chains.

As we have developed HERO®, two clear commercial pathways have become apparent, but before I come to them, I would like to comment on the broader use of hydrogen in the energy transition.

Undoubtedly, it has been necessary for governments, consultancies, and investors to focus heavily on hydrogen’s supply-side issues of generation, storage and transport.   However, not enough attention has been paid to the demand side of the equation.

We have noted the assumption in countless reports and at conferences like this one that the demand side – how to use hydrogen – will be met by fuel cells and by burning hydrogen.   However, as our network of potential customers has been telling us, both have their limitations.

This is where HERO® fits in. It is the missing link in the hydrogen energy chain. It can extract the energy from the chemistry of hydrogen and use it without generating greenhouse gasses and without the engineering complexities of burning it.

The commercial pathways for HERO® are twofold. The first is for process heat, as a service, ranging in temperatures from 100 to 700 degrees Celsius. And the primary target here is the food sector.

To that end, we are currently working on two pilots, one for a Mars Foods Australia facility near us on the Central Coast and the other, and I am announcing for the first time today with packaging company Trendpac.

Indeed, we have formed our own cluster – the Central Coast Food Hydrogen Cluster, under the auspices of Central Coast Industry Connect.

The other opportunities lie in the area of facility-scale energy.

The orthodox thinking about how to liberate the energy from hydrogen is to burn it – to burn it either on its own or as a blend with natural gas.

At Star Scientific, we reject this. We don’t believe that you should burn hydrogen to liberate its energy. You don’t have to dig too far to find public statements from turbine manufacturers about the engineering problems of burning hydrogen, particularly blending it with gas. Aside from the engineering and efficiency issues related to hydrogen turbines, there are issues with their water use. Further, when you blend it with gas, you are creating greenhouse gases.

Therefore, we have this unreal situation where Premiers and Ministers are making promises about hydrogen-derived energy while the technology providers are, at best, ambiguous about their capacity to meet the stipulated timeframes.

The good news is that there is an alternative way to decant the energy from hydrogen for large-scale electricity generation without burning it.

This involves the mating of HERO® to the new generation of supercritical C02 turbines. These avoid the downfalls of combined cycle turbines – sCO2 is a proven technology, no greenhouse gasses need to be vented, and the systems are air-cooled, avoiding the massive water needs that wet-cycle combustion turbines require. To top it off, they are about 1/10th the size of an equivalent steam turbine and, therefore, easily transportable and deployable.

This has significant and exciting implications for energy justice and economic growth for those populations who, for geographic or historical reasons, do not enjoy access to a modern, large-scale energy grid that many developed countries have.

We are developing a technology program on sCO2 and look forward to updating you all on this project soon.

The mating of HERO® and supercritical CO2 turbines is a demand-side example of the relentless march of scientific inquiry and innovation in the quest to net zero. The same is happening on the supply side of green hydrogen, yet commentators seem to be overlooking it.

As I mentioned, there has been debate in the Australian media around the “stalling” of the energy transition. These articles invariably comment on the material limitations and political obstacles encountered by solar and wind technologies and the need to upgrade the grid.   These issues often revolve around material availability, such as rare earths, even copper, or the sterilisation of farmlands or fishing grounds. They are also spilling over into the hydrogen area with queries about whether enough green electrons will be produced to meet our hydrogen requirements for domestic use and export.

The answer, of course, is that technological innovation doesn’t stand still. Visionary innovators and investors will solve some of these issues. We seem locked into an orthodox box that says the transition is all about masses of solar panels and giant wind turbines.

We take issue with the almost uncontested assumption that green electrons are locked into current solar, wind and hydro technology.

We are on the cusp of seeing alternate technologies. However, NDAs prevent me from disclosing these at this conference.

Of course, all of this takes money, and it is here that orthodox models have been problematic for many.

Developing technologies such as ours takes time and patience.

To date, we have been funded by an excellent group of patient, private, long-term investors. As we are single-minded in our vision, we have eschewed the financing path of public listing and venture capital, with their business-model bending demands for a quick return.

Our Board has also rejected funding offers from fossil fuel companies in accordance with the wishes of our investors. Government funding is complicated for a company with unorthodox technology like ours. In Australia, government funds are overly complex to apply for. This is especially so in the case of competitive tenders, where smaller companies will be up against larger companies with the resources to write long, compliant applications.

I am pleased to see recent suggestions that governments will increase their risk profile beyond wind, solar and electrolysers. They are looking at ways to make the application process more manageable.

Thankfully, our funding is well in hand through our funding partners, who are here today.

Star Scientific intends to develop a purpose-built research and development campus and mass manufacturing facility. While our preference is in the Central Coast/Hunter region, we also have Queensland and Victoria under scrutiny.

As you heard yesterday, we will develop a mirror facility in the United States and have chosen Albuquerque, New Mexico, as our preferred location.

We look forward to briefing you further in the near future and hope to see you at the SEC Conference in Rotterdam next year.

Thank you.

Star Scientific Announces Second Pilot Project

Australian Hydrogen Research and Development company Star Scientific Limited today announced that it was developing a second pilot project for Central Coast packaging company Trendpac.

Star Scientific Limited has developed the Hydrogen Energy Release Optimiser (HERO®), a catalyst that converts hydrogen and oxygen into heat, without burning. There are no greenhouse gasses produced, and the only other output is pure water.

Trendpac is a private contract packaging company serving major companies and supermarket chains. Their products include shampoos and detergents, many of which are formulated and mixed on-site.

Trendpac is a founding member of the Central Coast Hydrogen Food Cluster, an initiative of Star Scientific Limited and Central Coast Industry Connect. Other founding members include Mars Australia Pty Ltd, for whom Star Scientific Limited is developing its inaugural pilot.

Group Global Chairman of Star Scientific Limited, Andrew Horvath, said that the company was delighted to be expanding its work with neighbouring companies.

He went on to mention that the orthodox view is that hydrogen’s role is to decarbonise heavy industry through complex and capital-intensive processes like “green steel”. While there is no doubt that is in the future, there is a lot of work that renewable hydrogen can do to decarbonise other industries, such as food production and packaging.

He further stated that the pilot for Trendpac is complementary to the work the company is doing for Mars. While both involve the greenhouse gas-free production of process heat they are slightly different industrial processes. The learnings of each will feed into the development of the other.

CEO of Trendpac, Steven Hyde, said “we are excited to be working with Star Scientific Limited as they develop practical and innovative equipment using HERO® within a production environment.”

Frank Sammut, CEO of Central Coast Industry Connect, also said, “Star Scientific is blessed to be in the middle of the Central Coast’s food production cluster at Berkeley Vale and to be working with companies who share our ethics on sustainability”.

Information: Matthew Hingerty, +61 407 220 945, mhingerty@starscientific.com.au

Special Edition Newsletter

Special Edition Newsletter

Thursday 26th October 2023, 1pm AEDT
Sydney, Australia

Today at the Asia-Pacific Hydrogen Summit and Exhibition, hosted by the Sustainable Energy Council and the Australian Hydrogen Council, Star Scientific Limited and the Government of the State of New Mexico announced that Star Scientific had chosen Albuquerque, New Mexico as its preferred location for its first operation in the United States.

The announcement was made by the Governor of New Mexico, Michelle Lujan Grisham and Global Group Chairman of Star Scientific Limited, Andrew Horvath.  The announcement was formalised by the Governor and Mr Horvath jointly signing a Letter of Intent in a ceremony at the conference.

Start Scientific’s media release is below.

Star Scientific announces New Mexico as a preferred destination for first U.S. facility

Australian Hydrogen research and development company, Star Scientific Ltd, today announced that it has chosen New Mexico as its preferred location for its first operation in the United States.

Star Scientific formalised the announcement by signing a Letter of Intent with New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham at the Sustainable Energy Council’s Asia-Pacific Hydrogen Summit and Exhibition in Sydney.

Global Group Chairman of Star Scientific, Andrew Horvath, said the company was very excited to begin its journey in the United States, particularly in the State of New Mexico.

“From the very earliest conversations, the officials in New Mexico outlined their long-term commitment to hydrogen and the benefits of their State for a company such as Star Scientific”, Mr Horvath said.

“We were impressed by their whole-of-government approach to manufacturing, logistics, higher education and research and their vision for the role that hydrogen will play in their future. We were equally impressed that they had holistically planned important human details such as housing for families that will work at our facility, education incentives for their children and lifestyle and leisure infrastructure.

“There is also an infectious ‘can do’ attitude which greatly appeals to we Australians.”

The Letter of Intent commits Star Scientific to an intensive process of planning and investigation of a site for a joint research and mass manufacturing facility in the Mesa del Sol district of Albuquerque.

Star Scientific is responsible for developing the award-winning and globally patented HERO® catalyst that chemically catalyses hydrogen and oxygen to rapidly create industrial-scale heat without burning the gases and without generating greenhouse gasses. The only other output is pure water.

“The facility in New Mexico will mirror the facility we will build in Australia, and it will service customers in the United States, Canada and, initially South America. We will be developing GHG-free process-heat systems for industry and stand-alone power systems while continuing research on other projects.”

Mr Horvath concluded by thanking New Mexico’s Environment Secretary James Kenney for his leadership of the project.

“From the outset, Secretary Kenney understood the potential of HERO® for New Mexico and has been a vigorous and respectful representative of his State”, Mr Horvath concluded.

Information: Matthew Hingerty, +61 407 220 945, mhingerty@starscientific.com.au

September Newsletter

Star to star at APAC Hydrogen Conference

Star Scientific is set to play a key role at the Sustainable Energy Council’s APAC Hydrogen Summit and Exhibition in Sydney on October 26 and 27.   The SEC is the same organisation that delivers the World Hydrogen Summit in Rotterdam, at which Star Scientific has previously played a key role in the large Australian Delegation.

In addition, the SEC has partnered with the Australian Hydrogen Council, and this event will act as the AHC’s national conference.

The fact that this is the first time this APAC event is being held in Australia is largely due to our Chairman, Andrew Horvath.  Andrew sits on the SEC’s global Hydrogen Advisory Committee and has lobbied hard for this event to be brought to Australia.  If Australia is to be a “hydrogen superpower,” it should host an international conference of this weight.

A number of very high-profile international delegations are attending the event, with some exciting speakers, and Star Scientific has scheduled meetings with many of them.  This is truly an international event, with delegates from Germany, the United States, the Netherlands (Port of Rotterdam) as well as the APAC region.  There will also be senior Ministerial speakers from the Australian Commonwealth and State Governments.

Andrew Horvath will be a keynote speaker at the Conference on Day 2, and as usual, he will be saying things from the unique perspective of Star Scientific.  To hear Andrew and other VIPs speak you’ll have to register as a full conference delegate. However, registration for the Exhibition component is free, and there you’ll be able to hear from our Matt Hingerty and Steve Heaton, live on the technical stage.  And for the first time, Star Scientific will be exhibiting at a booth, so please come and say hi!

To register for the event, please go here: https://www.asia-hydrogen-summit.com

Unveiling our star exhibit

One of the reasons why we have previously shied away from taking space in exhibitions was the simple question of what to show.  Yes, we can show our videos, but it is pretty much standard procedure at exhibitions like these to have something solid and tactile.  This put us in a dilemma – the solar and battery companies have things pretty easy; their technology is well-known, safe, and easy to transport. The battery units and panels look good stuck on an exhibition booth wall.  The same for electrolyser and turbine producers – it’s easy for them to display a cut-away model.

For us, it’s a bit different.  For safety reasons, we can hardly display a working model of our famous “coffee pot” demonstration unit or of our H2X heat exchanger. As our technology is unique, there are also important IP aspects to protect.

So, we threw the challenge to our engineering and workshop team.  What we wanted was something that allowed us to explain how the HERO® heat exchanger process works, while protecting our IP.

The boys excelled themselves and came up with a generic, descriptive model of a heat exchanger cell, with demonstrative inlet pipes for the gases, a working medium tube, and an H2O outlet.  It is made mostly from Perspex, so it is lightweight, tough, and transportable.  Congratulations to James, Ash, Dan, and Jeff for the design, particularly Jeff for fettling it together.

In combination with our “coffee pot” and “H2X” videos the yet-to-be-named “unit” will help us to take HERO® to the world.

Farewell Sam

Speaking of our videos, the star of them, our Principal Investigator and co-developer of HERO®, Sam Kirk, is moving on from Star.

Earlier this year Sam and his wife, Lauren, welcomed to the world their first child, and Sam has taken a position at the University of Newcastle to be closer to his young family.

Sam will forever be a part of the Star Scientific story and we wish him all the best for the future – he isn’t too far away and it’s a good bet that our paths will again cross.

August Newsletter

News from Star Scientific

Read more on the latest developments from our research facility, as well as Australian and international news relating to the hydrogen economy.

The transition gets serious.

We have observed a distinct shift in the public discourse around the renewable energy transition here in Australia with similar echoes from around the world.  It can be summed up succinctly in the phrase “the rubber is hitting the road”, as the theory of orthodox renewable technologies runs into the reality of their roll-out.

For example, here in Australia, those who are responsible for managing our grid have warned that a massive amount of capital investment is required if renewable energy is to hit 2030 and 2050 net-zero targets.  As developers peg out the ground and the oceans for transmission lines and turbines, everyone from farmers to bird lovers and surfers is pushing back.  In North Queensland, the Australian Environment Minister is caught between the horns of a dilemma in having to approve a wind turbine project in the rainforest which is being fiercely opposed by environmentalists and local communities.  Serious questions are being asked about not just the availability of critical minerals, but also common materials needed for the transition, such as copper.

All of this makes for a very receptive environment for breakthrough technologies like HERO®, especially if they get around grid-related issues.  We’ve noticed a distinct difference in attitude in our talks with governments – we are now very much “pushing against an open door” here in Australia and especially in the U.S.

The transition can be done, but governments need to keep their minds open to the technologies that deliver it – and the good news is that it seems they will be.

Major APAC Hydrogen Conference comes to Sydney.

The Sustainable Energy Council, the body behind the Global Hydrogen Summit at Rotterdam, is bringing its major Southern Hemisphere conference to Sydney over the 26th – 27th of October.  The conference and exhibition will be combined with the annual Australian Hydrogen Council Conference.

It is expected the Conference will be attended by major Australian Ministers along with Energy Ministers and government representatives from across the region, Europe and the United States.  The conference is also expected to attract major industry delegations from around the globe.

Star Scientific will be playing a major role at the event and looks forward to showcasing our technology to industry and government delegates alike.

Attendance at the exhibition half of the Conference is free. If you are interested in attending, please go to the Asia-Pacific Hydrogen 2023 Summit & Exhibition website.

Regional News

Star Scientific recently attended an excellent workshop under the umbrella of “NewH2”, the industry body combining the efforts of industry, government, and academic players in the hydrogen industry in the Hunter Valley.   The Hunter Valley is just north of the Central Coast region where Star Scientific is located and is anchored on the industrial port of Newcastle.

A long fossil fuel (mostly coal) supply chain reaches up the valley along the Hunter River, and companies and communities are coming together to plan the energy transition, with excellent input from our friends at the University of Newcastle.

Star Scientific was present at a workshop at the new ‘The Melt” innovation hub at the mining town of Muswellbrook.  A joint venture of the University and government, the Melt allows local renewable energy entrepreneurs to access free engineering support services.

Elsewhere in the local area, abundant land is being set aside by major companies and the Council to develop “renewable energy parks”, which may include hydrogen facilities.  Star Scientific will continue to take a key interest in these developments.

Cluster Manager at NewH2 – Hunter Hydrogen Technology Cluster, Clare Sykes, and Star Scientific’s Deputy CEO, Matthew Hingerty, and Global Head of Research, Steve Heaton, at “The Melt” incubator in Muswellbrook.

Rotary Science Challenge

Every year we choose to “put back” into our local community by sponsoring the Central Coast Rotary Science Challenge, where local secondary schools compete over two days in a series of science-related tasks and problems.

The day culminates in the “bridge challenge” where aspiring engineers have to build a balsawood and tape bridge that has to endure a series of ever-increasing wheeled weights running over it.  They eventually collapse, much to the joy of assembled kids, sponsors, teachers, and dignitaries.

We sincerely hope to one day see one or more of those young people in a Star Scientific lab coat!

Star Scientific’s Matt Hingerty and James Hopper who were judging the Coding challenge.

 

July Newsletter

News from Star Scientific

Read more on the latest developments from our research facility, as well as Australian and international news relating to the hydrogen economy.

 

Welcome back to the Star Scientific stakeholder’s newsletter. The last year has been very much a “ducks on the pond” time for us – quiet on the surface but pedaling furiously underneath. We are expecting a very big second half of 2023, and we look forward to keeping you informed. Please stay tuned to our Twitter and LinkedIn pages.

In the Shop

On the factory floor and in the labs the team has been working on our Mars pilot and one other that we haven’t announced publicly but is also related to the Central Coast food cluster. We are also working on a very important project that will be a milestone in the development of HERO® and will demonstrate to the world that HERO® is peerless when it comes to continuously extracting heat and energy from renewable energy sources.

We will fill you in in future editions.

Hubs Galore

Our Central Coast Food Hydrogen Cluster continues its work; indeed, we hosted a delegation from a potential customer this week. Last month, Central Coast Industry Connect (of whom we are a member) announced that it had secured land for the development of its AUD $17m Food Manufacturing Industry Hub. While this project has a broader remit than heat and energy, covering the whole spectrum of food production, Star Scientific will undoubtedly have a role to play in the future. Even better, it is just nearby to us and is located next to a campus of the University of Newcastle. And just to add to the proliferation of hydrogen hubs in our region, the Federal Government recently announced that it will fund the establishment of a separate Hydrogen Hub in the port city of Newcastle, just north of where we are on the Central Coast. This will be a more general hub, for a range of industrial stakeholders and our friends at the University of Newcastle. Star Scientific will be an eager participant in the activities of this hub too.

Regulatory and Policy Matters

One of the reasons we have been relatively quiet is that a lot of our efforts have been deployed into getting the regulatory environment right for our rapid expansion. Red tape doesn’t make great copy for tweets and newsletters, but it is vital for hydrogen’s progress. We’ve had to overcome basic and obvious issues like our home state government that didn’t count hydrogen as a “gas” in its critical legislation. To be fair to governments they have been working hard with us and bodies like the Australian Hydrogen Council to get these matters right, with one example being the Australian Federal Government’s efforts to develop a Guarantee of Origin Scheme.

Our efforts to engage effectively with governments have not gone unnoticed.  For example, in May our Deputy CEO was invited to speak to a cross-party committee of Australian Parliamentarians looking at aspects of the global trade in hydrogen – you can read his contribution here:

Our program of meetings with important political stakeholders continues, and this week we met with the Federal Opposition Energy spokesman Ted O’Brien, who is getting a lot of attention by championing a nuclear industry for Australia.

At a more technical level, Steve Heaton remains engaged with various government bodies, while our Principal Engineer, Ashkan Vatani has been accepted by Engineers Australia to be part of their Hydrogen Codes of Best Practice working group. This group will work closely with Government departments to develop National codes that will play a pivotal role in the development of the hydrogen sector in Australia. Engineers Australia is the peak professional engineering body in Australia, so this is quite an honour.

One of the key bodies Steve is engaging with is Standards Australia, which is the country’s accredited ISO body. This work is proceeding well with the endgame being a global standard that allows us to develop and operate HERO® anywhere – and as noted below that opportunity may come sooner rather than later.

Finally, the Australian Government has announced a review of the Australian Hydrogen Strategy, which was released in 2019. Star Scientific is engaging in this review, both directly and through bodies like the Australian Hydrogen Council.

 

The Big Picture

As it has been a little while, we thought we’d give you our perspective on some of the megatrends in the world of renewable energy and hydrogen.   Earlier this year, those of you who follow us on Twitter would have seen that we were present at the Sustainable Energy Council’s World Hydrogen Congress at Rotterdam. A gauge of the interest in hydrogen was that in 2022, the Congress was attended by 1,100 people – this year it was 11 thousand!  And governments continue to pump money into hydrogen, with the billions under US President Joe Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act resulting in governments around the world responding, in albeit more modest ways (like the Australian Government’s $2 billion in its recent budget).

There are, however, clouds on the horizon. Firstly, the reality is sinking in regarding the real-world practicalities involved in the promises of nations to achieve “net zero” by 2050. “Simple” things like land-use access and the rights of communities, engineering challenges, geographic challenges and the vast amounts of materials that will need to be mined and, eventually, disposed of.  For example, see a recent report from a joint government, academic body on Australia’s challenges here:

And while the government investment in hydrogen is welcome, they remain doggedly focused on supply-side issues and export, with very little attention on the demand side. It’s all chicken and no egg. There are a couple of notable exceptions, such as the American State of New Mexico. They are comfortable that supply-side issues are under control and have moved their attention to how to use/deploy hydrogen. Star’s Chairman and Deputy CEO have recently enjoyed fruitful discussions with the Governor, Michelle Lujan Grisham. The Government of New Mexico is very interested in Star establishing our first American base there and we have been studying the details closely. We also remain very interested in Texas and continue discussions there. We expect the competition for our first US operation to intensify after the Biden Government announces funding for the successful Hydrogen Hub consortia later in the year.

Out in the business world, the focus is less on supply and more on demand.  Companies that are committed to net-zero or are just desperate to find a replacement for gas on a price basis are looking closely at hydrogen.  However, they “hit the wall” when it comes to using hydrogen, or renewable energy for that matter. For example, there is a large vegetable pulp processor on the Murray River that supplies most of Australia’s tomato pulp for sauces, etc. It uses massive amounts of gas to fire its steam requirements. “That’s okay,” says the city-based “electrify everything” cheer-squad, “just use heat pumps”. The problem is that the size or number of heat pumps that the company would need requires a massive upgrade of the electricity transmission infrastructure in the rural area it is located. For them, hydrogen could be the answer – but they need help on how to use it.

Of course, we know HERO® is the answer and we are talking to them and dozens of companies like them around the world, and many governments, about how we will fill this hydrogen deployment gap.

Global Hydrogen Conference for Sydney

Earlier in the Newsletter we mentioned the Global Hydrogen Conference in Rotterdam. The big news for us is that the SEC and the Australian Hydrogen Council will be bringing the Australia-Pacific version to Sydney in late October. Being on our “home turf”, Star Scientific will be playing a major role as a major sponsor, alongside some of the biggest energy and infrastructure companies in the world. More details soon but if you are interested, please go to:

Asia-Pacific Hydrogen 2023