The Philippines is partnering with Australian company Star Scientific to explore the use of hydrogen as a potential energy source for the Philippines.

The Philippines Department of Energy revealed on Friday that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with Star Scientific to explore the use of hydrogen as a fuel for power generation, as well as the role that it could play in the Philippines economy as a whole, which is currently heavily reliant on imported fossil fuels.

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“The parties will investigate hydrogen production in the Philippines in an effort to make the country energy independent so as to significantly reduce the country's carbon dioxide emissions,” the MoU stated.

Hero technology

Forming a key part of the MoU is Star Scientific's Hydrogen Energy Release Optimizer (Hero) technology, which the Australian company claims converts hydrogen and oxygen into heat and water, without degrading the catalyst. It also stated there was no combustion, with the only outputs being heat and water.

“Thanks to this bold and visionary step by the Philippines, we can begin to see the reality of whole economies turning over to hydrogen and a rapid acceleration to sustainable energy on a global scale. This is just the start,” Star Scientific chairman Andrew Horvath said.

“This will represent the largest single boost to Australia’s role in developing the global hydrogen economy, heralding a new era of research, development and deployment in the manufacture and installation of all parts of the hydrogen supply chain."

Offshore wind resources

Under the MoU, the parties will investigate ways in which Hero technology can be used to convert existing power assets within the Philippines to zero-emission hydrogen assets, such as retro-fitting existing coal-fired power plants to run on the Hero system powered by green hydrogen.

They will also look to explore utilising green hydrogen production in the Philippines using an abundance of offshore wind resources.

The parties will also look at the viability of increased distribution of emission-free power by way of a supercritical CO2 grid network powered by Hero technology.

They will also work together to investigate desalination options for both existing and new systems throughout the Philippines through the use of the Hero technology.

Fuel of the future

“I have often said that there could be a lot of potential for hydrogen for the local industry given that it is seen as the fuel of the future,” Philippines Energy Secretary Alfonso G Cusi said.

"We are hoping to be able to utilise hydrogen as fuel for electric vehicles and as part of the country’s future energy mix.”

Star Scientific said the aim of the working relationship with the Department of Energy was to bring “abundant clean energy and desalinated water to the people of the Philippines”.

It also noted the MoU could lead to the Philippines potentially having the opportunity to offer global companies zero emissions manufacturing capability.

The Australian company will also assist the Department of Energy with the development and implementation of funding models to attract global financing for the different aspects of all the projects as they develop.