Get Regular Updates!
|Dr Arman Siahvashi: The next hydrogen-eration



Premier’s Science Awards | Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation

Dr Arman Siahvashi: The next hydrogen-eration

Dr Arman Siahvashi: The next hydrogen-eration

Arman Siahvashi is a researcher at UWA. He's just been named joint winner of the 2021 Woodside Early Career Scientist of the Year.

Dr Arman Siahvashi: The next hydrogen-eration

Today we’re getting an update from someone we’ve spoken to in the past – Dr Arman Siahvashi – who’s back for his second Premier’s Science Award! After taking out joint winner of the 2018 ExxonMobil Student Scientist of the Year, he’s now joint winner of the Woodside Early Career Scientist of the Year.

So what’s he been up to?

New gas, old problems

“The majority of the work I did in my PhD was focusing on solving problems in LNG or liquid natural gas industry,” Arman says.

Gas that comes from the ground isn’t totally pure. When it’s chilled down to a liquid, those impurities can freeze out and shut down entire systems.

View Larger
Image|Getty / Kirsten Strickland
Arman wants to take everything he – and Australia – has learned from natural gas, and apply it to hydrogen.

Now, with the world getting excited about hydrogen, Arman’s hoping to help put WA on the clean energy map.

“You’re basically trying to avoid heart attacks for the liquid hydrogen industry.”

“What we have done and Australia has done with LNG … we’re going to leverage that and do it for liquid hydrogen as well.”

The trouble with hydrogen

While the methane produced in WA liquefies at -162°C, hydrogen is much colder. It doesn’t turn to liquid until it hits -253°C.

That means the engineering challenges are even greater. The temperatures are colder and the pressures are higher – and so are the risks.

“Hydrogen in my opinion poses the greatest challenges of any alternative fuel,” Arman says.

“There is an array of technical, safety, economic, infrastructure and social issues that must be overcome before it could be implemented on a large scale and replace fossil fuels.”

As well as UWA and the Forrest Research Foundation, Arman’s got two other amazing collaborators up his sleeve.

The first is an organisation you might have heard of …


Ready for launch

Last time we spoke with Arman, he was talking to NASA about understanding the frozen lakes of Titan. Since then, their collaboration has really taken off.

“NASA have been using liquid hydrogen as a rocket fuel for many years,” Arman says.

(It was used on NASA’s shuttle and will be used on its replacement, the Space Launch System, which uses the same engines.)

The big orange external tank on the shuttle held its hydrogen fuel.
. View Larger
The big orange external tank on the shuttle held its hydrogen fuel.
The same hydrogen engines (and same orange!) are found on NASA’s new rocket, the SLS.
. View Larger
The same hydrogen engines (and same orange!) are found on NASA’s new rocket, the SLS.

But whether it’s a spaceship or a tanker, the engineering challenges of dealing with liquid hydrogen are the same. It’s very cold, very flammable and it’s under a lot of pressure, like an ice-cold pressure cooker. Working with NASA isn’t just a cool perk, it’s an obvious partnership.

“We are working with them to develop mathematical models or generate experimental data. That can help us both increase production and improve safety,” Arman says.

From spaceships to mentorships

NASA isn’t the only one helping out. Arman’s mentor and supervisor Professor Eric May is also a star. He took out this year’s Scientist of the Year award.

Arman says having Eric as a mentor was crucial to his success as a scientist and an engineer.

“The lessons he has taught me have been the most effective of my life,” Arman says. “He’s a great scientist, and he’s a great engineer.”

A joint winner of Woodside Early Career Scientist of the Year at the Premier's Science Awards 2021, Arman studies ways to deliver energy to people as efficiently and cleanly as possible.
Image|Premier’s Science Awards | UWA
"I think I see myself as both scientist and engineer – because these two should work together.

“Whatever we do as scientists, we try to apply that to solve real-life problems.”

Particle Puns


Creative Commons Logo

Republishing our content

We want our stories to be shared and seen by as many people as possible.

Therefore, unless it says otherwise, copyright on the stories on Particle belongs to Scitech and they are published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

This allows you to republish our articles online or in print for free. You just need to credit us and link to us, and you can’t edit our material or sell it separately.

Using the ‘republish’ button on our website is the easiest way to meet our guidelines.


You cannot edit the article.

When republishing, you have to credit our authors, ideally in the byline. You have to credit Particle with a link back to the original publication on Particle.

If you’re republishing online, you must use our pageview counter, link to us and include links from our story. Our page view counter is a small pixel-ping (invisible to the eye) that allows us to know when our content is republished. It’s a condition of our guidelines that you include our counter. If you use the ‘republish’ then you’ll capture our page counter.

If you’re republishing in print, please email us to let us so we know about it (we get very proud to see our work republished) and you must include the Particle logo next to the credits. Download logo here.

If you wish to republish all our stories, please contact us directly to discuss this opportunity.


Most of the images used on Particle are copyright of the photographer who made them.

It is your responsibility to confirm that you’re licensed to republish images in our articles.


All Particle videos can be accessed through YouTube under the Standard YouTube Licence.

The Standard YouTube licence

  1. This licence is ‘All Rights Reserved’, granting provisions for YouTube to display the content, and YouTube’s visitors to stream the content. This means that the content may be streamed from YouTube but specifically forbids downloading, adaptation, and redistribution, except where otherwise licensed. When uploading your content to YouTube it will automatically use the Standard YouTube licence. You can check this by clicking on Advanced Settings and looking at the dropdown box ‘License and rights ownership’.
  2. When a user is uploading a video he has license options that he can choose from. The first option is “standard YouTube License” which means that you grant the broadcasting rights to YouTube. This essentially means that your video can only be accessed from YouTube for watching purpose and cannot be reproduced or distributed in any other form without your consent.


For more information about using our content, email us:

Copy this HTML into your CMS
Press Ctrl+C to copy

We've got chemistry. Want something physical?