Team:Macquarie Australia/HP/Gold Integrated


Aim: From our various human practice events we found that there was a missing link between industry and the broader public with respect to communication about hydrogen gas energy, so we aimed to bridge that gap to further propel the innovation, implementation and utilisation of renewable hydrogen gas.

Stage One
Stage Two
Stage Three
Stage Four
Stage Five
Stage Six

Stage One

Our first step in this process involved conducting an online survey that was completed by over 150 respondents across multiple age brackets and geographic locations within Australia. This survey was designed to give us insight into consumers’ perceptions around renewable energy and what sort of product might appeal to the Australian market. A statistical analysis of the results was performed and yielded some extremely useful information:

Based on these results we realised that there was unmet demand for a product that empowered individual consumers to produce their own renewable energy at home. In response to this, and after reviewing the huge potential for hydrogen vehicles over the next two decades in Australia, H2ydroGEM decided that an at-home hydrogen refuelling station would be the best product to create as our prototype.

Stage Two

Based on this survey and market research ( Click here! ), we noted the H2 industry is set to grow over the next decade exponentially and so we investigated the possibility of hydrogen fuelled vehicles being the most promising usage of our product.
To get some valuable feedback on this idea, our team approached a mentor at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia’s premier national research organisation. CSIRO has dedicated a significant amount of time and resources towards improving the viability of hydrogen gas as an alternative renewable energy source, believing that Australia could be “the number one renewable fuel provider in the world's fastest growing region” with an export industry equal in scale to the LNG industry.

Given their longstanding experience in producing hydrogen, three members of H2ydroGEM met with Dr. Howard Lovatt, Team Leader of Electrical Machines at CSIRO, to gain feedback on our project and discuss a potential future collaboration between our team and CSIRO (Shown above). We were advised that our product held strong long-term potential given that hydrogen vehicles will become more popular in Australia over the next two decades. Our project is sufficiently far enough along the fuel path to be a viable business venture and has great potential for expansion. Based on this recommendation, our team is investigating a short-term partnership with AGL Energy to fund our long-term refuelling station prototype. See ‘Future Directions and Sources of Funding’ in our business plan for more information. Dr. Lovatt thought that selling the refuelling station as a bundle with hydrogen vehicles was a good and suggested that the most likely company to entertain the possibility of such a partnership is Toyota as well as the CSIRO!

Stage Three

Based on the some questions raised at the CSIRO, the team went back to the communities to conduct in depth interviews with 40 participants to further guide our prototype design alongside potential ethical queries that our users may have. We found that:

    Our users are very concerned about the long-term impacts of climate change and reliance on fossil fuels. They want the empowerment to be a part of the solution by taking their own actions.

    There is currently little known about hydrogen vehicles in Australia but our users are very interested in learning more about them (this fell in line with questions being raised at the ACUR conference as well).

    Our users are motivated by sustainability, durability, affordability, safety and convenience of hydrogen energy.

Stage Four

Our integrative human practice activities thus helped formulate our prototype design. The H2GEM has been designed so that it is compact enough to fit within a standard Australian household garage. The unit itself is shaped as a compact, sleek lightbulb-shaped design. Its dimensions are 1 metre tall, 60 centimetres wide and 30 centimetres deep. It will be constructed using two rectangular pieces of sheet metal welded together at the top of the unit, with two lightbulb-shaped metal pieces at either end. A small input tray is located near the base so that feed stock can be inserted by the user with ease. A petrol bowser is connected to the base and coils around a holder at the side of the unit to allow for easy, compact storage. As stated in our overriding objective, sustainability is our team’s top priority. As such, the H2GEM’s exterior will be made from recycled metal materials sourced from scrap yards which would have otherwise been destined for landfill. All the functionalities of this prototype were designed considering our survey results, industry advice, and interviewee feedback.

The internal compartments were designed so that the E. coli vat would sit at the bottom. Nutrients such as the media and glucose would be delivered through cassettes that would plug into the machine. The produced gases would pass through a hydrogen selective membrane, and be stored in a round compartment, which will help equalise pressure, sitting atop the vat. The gas would then pass through a column and convert the hydrogen gas into a more safely storable aluminium hydride. When the gas is needed, it can be reverted back and used for consumption.

Stage Five

To market our prototype, Ali Ali and Taylor Berry went to the Ideas to Concept workshop designed by the Macquarie Incubator. The workshop was aimed at introducing ideas into an entrepreneurial environment, focussing on customer identification, competitive advantage, revenue models and success metrics. Through the workshop, various contacts were made at the Incubator who were willing to help in further commercialising our product. It was with this experience that our team was able to properly recognise the importance of customer value, strategic objectives, costs, revenue and metric success measurements. With all these factors in mind our business plan was revised to also include our competitive positioning and scalability. Through this exercise, our team was also given beneficial advice regarding the value of intellectual property (IP).

Stage Six

Through our contacts at the Incubator, the team was invited to Pedestal by Mr Michael Rampe and Mr Peter Reeves who further encouraged our endeavours in the branding of our prototype, which we named H2GEM. In collaboration with them, Ali Ali, Emma Jackson and India Boyton were able to design a 3D rendering of H2GEM which is available for viewing on the Pedestal website!


1. Department of the Premier and the Cabinet (2017). A Hydrogen Roadmap for South Australia. Government of South Australia. Last accessed: 24/10/2017




Faculty of Science and Engineering,
Macquarie University
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