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Sparc accelerates photocatalytic hydrogen venture

Manufacturing News

Technology developer Sparc Technologies has increased its funding commitment to its Sparc Hydrogen green hydrogen development joint venture with the University of Adelaide and Fortescue Future Industries.

The company has committed an additional $1.1 million in funding for Stage 1 of the project aimed at producing low-cost green hydrogen on a commercial scale, representing a 50 percent increase in spending.

Sparc Hydrogen is commercialising its patent-pending photocatalytic water splitting technology developed by the Flinders and Adelaide universities.

The technology has the potential to create significant energy efficiencies and a cost advantage with low capital and operating expenditure required compared to renewable energy powered electrolysis.

The additional funds will be used to advance research and development activities and to accelerate demonstration of the technology.

This includes approval for the appointment of an experienced Project Manager, Vinodhan (Vinod) Gopalan, an increase in resources at the University of Adelaide, design and construction of an ‘on-sun prototype reactor’ as a precursor to pilot scale design, and for additional working capital.

Vinod has over 20 years’ experience in the energy and power sector in engineering roles, most recently with Re.Group where
he was primarily developing a waste-to-energy plant in NSW.

The increase in funding is budgeted to be fully funded by R&D tax rebates, hence no increase in investment is required from the JV partners.

Sparc Technologies Executive Chairman Stephen Hunt said the extra funding was a strong endorsement of Sparc Hydrogen’s green production process and demonstrates the increasing maturity of the technology.

Hunt said: “We are excited about the acceleration of on-sun testing and with the appointment of an experienced project manager to lead development of this work as we move towards piloting.

“We continue to be very encouraged by the potential of this next generation green hydrogen technology.”

According to the company the increase in commitment to the project is the culmination of progress over the past six months including:

  • Delivery of the preliminary Techno Economic Assessment (TEA)
  • Publication of an international patent application relating to the photocatalytic reactor technology
  • Initial scoping works conducted for on-sun testing at prototype and pilot scale
  • And ongoing results of test work at the University of Adelaide which were recently presented to the JV in a second research milestone report.

The additional funding will enable greater focus on testing the efficacy of the technology in real world conditions.

Prototyping is expected to be undertaken at an existing concentrated solar field and would be the first demonstration of the technology outside of the laboratory.

Sparc Hydrogen has engaged a consultant engineering firm to support this work which is targeted to be conducted in mid-2023.

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Image: Sparc Technologies

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