The company listed on the ASX in December 2015 aiming to progress the technology initially developed at the University of Western Australia.
The Hazer Process enables the effective conversion of natural gas and similar feedstocks into hydrogen and high-quality graphite, using iron ore as a process catalyst.
Pre-pilot plant constructed and commissioned
The company has made significant progress since IPO in its goal to take the Hazer Process from the laboratory (stage 1) through to a full commercial plant (stage 5).
During 2017, Hazer focused on stage 3, the operation of a pre-pilot plant.
The pre-pilot plants continues to progress through key development milestones toward the scale-up of the Hazer Process towards commercialisation.
Agreement with Mineral Resources to build graphite plant
Mineral Resources will fund all commercial development, with Hazer providing intellectual property and technical assistance.
The initial focus of the collaboration will be on a pilot scale facility capable of producing one tonne per annum of high quality graphite suitable for high-value applications including lithium-ion batteries.
The agreement is a significant commercial milestone for Hazer and is expected to accelerate the commercial deployment of the Hazer Process.
MoU to integrate Hazer Process in steel production
In October 2017 Hazer signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to investigate the commercial and technical viability of utilising the Hazer technology in the steel industry.
The non-binding agreement is with Primetals Technologies Austria GmbH, a joint venture between heavyweights, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Siemens.
Under the MoU, the parties will jointly develop a roadmap to investigate the viability for the Hazer Process to increase the energy efficiency and reduce the environmental impact of steel production.
The initial focus is on three core opportunities:
• Reduce CO2 emissions and convert CO2 to methanol (a valuable fuel);
• Using hydrogen as an alternative reductant in the steel-making process; and
• Using graphite as an alternative to coal in the steel-making process.
Opportunities in three major global markets
The company sees opportunities in three major global markets:
1) The industrial hydrogen market (US$100 billion);
2) The clean hydrogen and energy market (US$18 billion by 2023); and
3) The synthetic graphite market (US$15 billion).
Process modelling and commodity cost analysis of the Hazer Process indicates that it offers a potentially significant competitive advantage in the global industrial hydrogen market.
The problem with producing hydrogen
The majority of hydrogen is produced through fossil fuel reforming, such as steam methane reforming (SMR) which involves significant carbon dioxide emission.
The alternative process is electrolysis which is cleaner but energy inefficient and expensive.
With the Hazer process, instead of carbon dioxide, the carbon content of the natural gas is captured in the form of solid graphite making the process both cleaner and more cost-effective.
Competitive advantage in the hydrogen market
Process modelling indicates the Hazer Process could potentially deliver a 75% net commodity cost reduction compared to SMR.
Modelling also shows Hazer could provide around 70% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions relative to SMR.
This supports the principle that Hazer could have a significant competitive advantage in the global industrial hydrogen market.
Regarding electrolysis, modelling indicates Hazer could produce hydrogen with near-zero carbon dioxide emissions if using renewable energy to power the Hazer Process.
This scenario could generate around 6x more hydrogen compared to electrolysis based production using equivalent renewable energy source.
The costs of commodity inputs (per tonne of hydrogen) are also significantly lower than the equivalent costs associated with electrolysis-based hydrogen production.