Sparc Hydrogen, a joint venture between the University of Adelaide, Fortescue, and Sparc Technologies Limited, has achieved a significant milestone in the development of green hydrogen.
The completion of the first phase of on-sun prototype testing at the CSIRO Energy Centre in Newcastle, New South Wales, marks a key advancement in Sparc Hydrogen’s mission to revolutionize hydrogen production.
Sparc Hydrogen’s achievement centers around its innovative photocatalytic water splitting (PWS) reactor. This groundbreaking technology has the potential to redefine green hydrogen production by eliminating the need for capital-intensive electrolysers, as well as solar or wind farms. The successful on-sun prototype testing not only demonstrates the feasibility of the PWS reactor but also propels its technology readiness level (TRL) from 4 to 5.
The testing phase yielded invaluable data and insights, laying the foundation for enhanced reactor design in subsequent generations. Stephen Hunt, Sparc Technologies Executive Chair, emphasizes the significance of this achievement, stating that the repeated on-sun trials provide essential learnings crucial for scaling the technology toward a pilot plant.
Sparc Hydrogen acknowledges the support received through the CSIRO Kick-Start Program, a testament to collaborative initiatives fostering innovation in Australian start-ups. The program’s contribution significantly aided in covering the costs of the prototype testing.
Simultaneous to prototype testing, Sparc Hydrogen is forging ahead with a pilot plant pre-front-end engineering design (pre-FEED) study. This study, set to conclude by the end of 2023, encompasses a concept flowsheet design, equipment selection, costs, risks, and opportunities for a pilot plant. If commissioned, this pilot plant would propel the technology readiness level to 6, marking another leap toward large-scale deployment.
Moreover, Sparc Hydrogen has received a research and development (R&D) tax refund of $371,655, reinforcing its commitment to driving innovation and contributing to the Australian government’s R&D tax incentive program.
The journey from successful prototype testing to the upcoming pilot plant study signifies Sparc Hydrogen’s dedication to shaping the future of green hydrogen production. As the world seeks sustainable energy solutions, Sparc Hydrogen stands at the forefront, poised to play a pivotal role in the global hydrogen landscape.