• Star Scientific

    Carbon-free heat for food manufacturers, reducing emissions

Improving energy productivity throughout the value chain by positioning businesses to understand and adopt innovations that reduce energy intensity, improve reliability of supply, apply more sustainable energy options and manage energy demand.

Star Scientific is a hydrogen research and development company creating safe, reliable, affordable energy with zero emissions. 

It discovered a breakthrough technology to convert hydrogen into heat without combustion. This became HERO® – the Hydrogen Energy Release Optimiser. Behind this powerful heat source is the interaction of hydrogen and oxygen with a secret catalyst. Within minutes of the hydrogen interacting with the catalyst, HERO® safely reaches more than 700oC. The only by-product is pure water. 

It has partnered with Central Coast Industry Connect (CCIC) to create a new industry-led hydrogen cluster. The Central Coast Hydrogen Food Cluster is pioneering the use of HERO® technology to provide a carbon-free heat source for food manufacturing. It helps food manufacturers remove carbon from industrial processes such as heating, drying and cleaning. This is the first commercial application of HERO®. 

HERO® has been patented globally and has no competitor. It is looking to significantly scale its workforce as it moves to mass production and export. It currently has offices in Australia, Switzerland, the United States, and Singapore. The application of HERO® is global in scope. It can impact a variety of communities, from developing countries that do not have access to reliable power, right through to larger economies that want to accelerate their energy transition. 

It won the S&P Global Platts, Global Energy Awards’ Emerging Technology of the Year in 2020, and the Sustainable Energy Council’s inaugural World Hydrogen Awards’ Industrial Application category in 2021, and South by South West’s “new economy” category of it’s 2022 innovation awards. 

Star Scientific investigated clean energy for more than two decades, sustained by shareholder funds of just over $100 million. 

The technology was discovered as a by-product of an experiment, and quickly patented around the world. Although it has many potential applications – replacing coal-fired boilers in power stations, municipal-level heating for homes and businesses, and off-grid power for remote communities – it is heat production for industrial processes that is seeing the most current demand, specifically, from international food processing businesses. The creation of the Central Coast Hydrogen Food Cluster – in collaboration with the CCIC – is its test case. 

It has also partnered with Mars Food Australia on a pilot using its technology to provide heat for sanitation. 

Although still at the pilot stage, Star Scientific is seeing demand from multiple countries, including the Philippines and the United States, where clean hydrogen forms a part of infrastructure investment. It seems only a matter of time before Star Scientific makes its mark on the global stage. 

This case study is from FIAL's 2022 edition of Celebrating Australian Food and Agribusiness Innovations 2022

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