Sparc Hydrogen progresses pilot plant development

CSIRO solar tower with bright sun shining on heliostats (sparc)
Image: CSIRO

Sparc Hydrogen—a joint venture between Sparc Technologies, the University of Adelaide and Fortescue—has ticked several milestones for the development of its pilot plant, including signing a Collaboration Framework Agreement with Shinshu University in Japan.

Sparc has also secured an in-principle agreement from the University of Adelaide to locate the plant at its Roseworthy Campus, and progressed the detailed design and engineering for the pilot-scale water splitting reactor.

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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. A decision to proceed with the pilot plant remains subject to Sparc Hydrogen board approval.

Sparc Technologies managing director Nick O’Loughlin said, “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.

“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.”

Related article: Sparc tests photocatalytic water splitting reactor at CSIRO

Shinshu University Professor Kazunari Domen commented, “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.

“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.”

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