Research supported by and ARC Linkage grant, Wesfarmers and the US technology development group XLTG Inc. led to the formation of a spin-off company, Hazer Pty Ltd in 2010. The company name is an acronym of Hydrogen And Zero Emission Research.
Current hydrogen-production technologies are significant producers of greenhouse gases, whereas Hazer’s technology captures the carbon pollution in the form of graphite, a valuable by-product in its own right.
Extensive use of electron microscopy by Prof. Martin Saunders in the AMMRF at the University of Western Australia (UWA), enabled the development of this new technology for cracking methane (natural gas) into hydrogen and carbon nanomaterials, with no carbon-dioxide emissions. The patented process delivers cost-effective hydrogen and graphitic carbon through the thermocatalytic decomposition of methane. Self-encapsulating carbon spheres called carbon nano-onions are a by-product that can be used in the manufacture of hydrogen fuel cells and many other potential applications.
The technology thus gives a clean route to two valuable industrial commodities from an abundant natural resource. Hazer Pty Ltd has successfully raised capital and is now funding further development work at UWA.