Innovative green hydrogen developer Sparc Hydrogen has turned its focus to scoping out the construction of a pilot plant to prove its low cost processes to produce green hydrogen following the publication of a global patent application.
The company, a joint venture between Sparc Technologies, Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) and the University of Adelaide, is seeking to commercialise photocatalytic water splitting technology with the aim of producing low-cost green hydrogen without the use of energy-hungry electrolysis.
It announced an international PCT patent application relating to a photocatalytic solar reactor filed by the inventors Adelaide and Flinders universities had been published, with Sparc holding an exclusive, royalty-free licence to use the technology.
A statement from Sparc Technologies Executive Chairman Stephen Hunt said: “Following completion of a preliminary Techno-Economic Analysis (TEA) in October, the project team’s focus has shifted to pilot plant scoping activities while the team at the University of Adelaide continues to progress their research.”
The company is studying potential sites for the pilot plant reactor which will utilise the sun’s radiation and thermal properties to increase reaction efficiencies beyond the baseline performance of a photocatalyst material.
Key elements of the technology claimed in the patent application include the use of the entire solar spectrum to enhance reaction efficiencies along with incorporating concentrated solar radiation via mirror reflectors.
Solar concentration is said to provide a dual benefit of increased temperature in the solar reactor which has been shown to increase reaction efficiencies, along with reducing the amount of photocatalyst material required for a given production rate.
Hunt said: “The publication of the patent application is an important milestone for Sparc Hydrogen as it represents a progressive step towards the granting of patents in national jurisdictions.
“The pending patent application coupled with the positive results of the preliminary Techno-Economic Analysis leading to the acceleration of development of the pilot plant by approximately 18 months, enables Sparc Hydrogen to begin establishing a world leading position in the development of photocatalytic hydrogen production technology.”
The photocatalytic water splitting technology was developed over five years by the University of Adelaide and Flinders University.
Image: Sparc Technologies