Sparc Hydrogen progresses pilot plant development

Tuesday, 25 June, 2024

Sparc Hydrogen progresses pilot plant development

Sparc Technologies has announced that Sparc Hydrogen, a joint venture between Sparc Technologies, the University of Adelaide and Fortescue, has progressed several key workstreams that de-risk the development of a solar water splitting photocatalytic pilot plant, including signing a Collaboration Framework Agreement with Shinshu University in Japan.

Other key activities and milestones achieved over recent months with respect to the pilot plant include securing an in-principle agreement from the University of Adelaide to locate the plant at its Roseworthy Campus and progressing the detailed design and engineering for the pilot-scale water splitting reactor which seamlessly integrates with the chosen linear Fresnel concentrated solar field.

Each of these milestones represents material de-risking of the pilot plant development workstreams building on from the pre-FEED study and the successful prototyping work completed at the CSIRO Energy Centre in early April 2024. In parallel, work continues in the laboratory to test and optimise Sparc Hydrogen’s photocatalytic water splitting reactor under a range of conditions using different photocatalyst materials.

“Sparc is delighted with the progress that the Sparc Hydrogen team has made over recent weeks and months with respect to key development workstreams for the pilot plant,” said Sparc Technologies Managing Director Nick O’Loughlin. “In particular, formalising a relationship with Shinshu University providing a collaboration for the supply of their world-leading photocatalysts for testing in Sparc Hydrogen’s reactors is a significant milestone. I would also like to thank the University of Adelaide for their ongoing support, as evidenced by the in-principle decision to locate the pilot plant at Roseworthy Campus.”

“Shinshu University is pleased to collaborate with Sparc Hydrogen on the research, development and field testing of a concentrated sunlight water splitting photocatalytic reaction system,” said Shinshu University Special Contract Professor Kazunari Domen. “Such reaction environments have not been tested at Shinshu University before, and we are very interested to see what kind of activity and reaction characteristics our photocatalyst will exhibit. The knowledge gained will be important for the scale-up of the reactor.”

The University of Adelaide has provided Sparc Hydrogen with in-principle support to locate the pilot plant at its Roseworthy Campus, located approximately 50 km north of the Adelaide CBD. Roseworthy was assessed among several other sites in Adelaide and regional South Australia and was deemed the highest-ranking site considering a range of criteria. Key factors in this assessment included infrastructure access, proximity for researchers and other key stakeholders, and relative control over obtaining requisite approvals.

Roseworthy Campus is wholly owned by the University of Adelaide and is predominantly used for undergraduate teaching, postgraduate training, research and clinical services. The campus is located on a 1600 ha property, which includes a working farm, and has an international reputation for excellence in dryland agriculture, natural resource management and animal production. Securing the proposed site at Roseworthy is contingent on a formal lease agreement between the University of Adelaide and Sparc Hydrogen.

Image: CSIRO solar tower.

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