Chemistry Honours graduate Declan Burke is helping turn natural gas and iron ore into clean hydrogen and graphite.
As a research assistant at the Hazer Group in WA, Declan is working to commercialise an Australian-designed, low-emissions process to make hydrogen for clean vehicle fuel and energy.
“We’re using high temperatures and pressures to force the hydrogen and carbon apart and deposit the carbon as graphite,” he says. Hazer is building a commercial demonstration plant to produce 100 tonnes of hydrogen and 380 tonnes of graphite each year. And there are plans to power the plant with a hydrogen fuel cell, so it is self-sustaining, too.
Early in Declan’s university studies, he realised that he wanted to use his chemistry skills to make the world a better place. He took on a double major in philosophy to explore how best to do that. “Philosophy made me realise my actions had consequences,” he says.
For his Honours project, Declan channelled his passion for renewable energy into a hydrogen-splitting project, then scored his current role at Hazer after graduation.
Declan says the independent and critical thinking skills he learned during his Honours year have been invaluable. “It was the hardest year, but the one that prepared me most for the real world,” he says.
Declan’s study and career path to becoming a research assistant
- Laboratory Technician, WA Department of Parks and Wildlife
- Bachelor of Science (Chemistry), Honours, UWA
- Research Assistant, Hazer Group
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Author: Nadine Cranenburgh
Nadine is an electrical and environmental engineer who works as a freelance writer and editor. She loves creating articles and content about exciting and complex technology.