Sparc Hydrogen’s potentially transformational photocatalytic water splitting technology will undergo on-sun testing at CSIRO’s Energy Centre in NSW to determine its ability to produce green hydrogen.

While the patent-pending photocatalytic water splitting (PWS) technology has been tested under laboratory conditions, the testing by CSIRO will be carried out under what’s essentially real-world conditions.

Sparc Technologies (ASX:SPN) notes that this will advance the technology readiness level of the PWS reactor as well as provide valuable information for ongoing R&D and pilot plant design.

“Sparc is delighted to be working with our Sparc Hydrogen partners, The University of Adelaide, FFI (Fortescue Future Industries) and Flinders University, to undertake this testing with the CSIRO, in what we believe to be a world leading demonstration of photocatalytic water splitting in a concentrated solar field,” executive chairman Stephen Hunt said.

“Completion of this test work will be a significant milestone, not only for Sparc Hydrogen, but more widely for the advancement of photocatalytic water splitting, a next generation green hydrogen production technology which does not require capital intensive electrolysers nor solar or wind farms.”

Highlighting the value of the company’s research, it recently received a $418,655 R&D tax rebate from the Australian Government.

Photocatalytic water splitting technology

Real world testing of Sparc Hydrogen’s PWS reactor marks the culmination of more than five years of research and development work conducted by the University of Adelaide and Flinders University.

The tech uses a catalyst exposed to direct sunlight to convert water into hydrogen and oxygen, eliminating the need for wind farms or massive arrays of solar panels that are required for electrolysis.

Needless to say, this has the potential to substantially transform the economics of producing green hydrogen.

Laboratory testing has confirmed that hydrogen production and efficiency improve when certain photocatalyst materials are exposed to concentrated light and heat.

This led to the identification of CSIRO’s Energy Centre in Newcastle as being an ideal facility to conduct the first on-sun testing of Sparc Hydrogen’s PWS reactor as it is home to Australia’s largest solar thermal research hub.

The hub consists of a 30m high solar tower surrounded by a 4,000 square metre field of 451 locally manufactured custom designed mirrors and is capable of generating temperatures of up to 1,500 degrees Celsius. The hub provides a platform that allows Australian researchers to develop, test and commercialise technologies which incorporate concentrated solar.

Sparc Hydrogen has received $28,688 in funding through the CSIRO Kick-Start Program, which is designed to support innovative Australian start-ups and small businesses in accessing CSIRO’s research expertise and capabilities to foster growth and development to contribute towards the costs of the prototype testing.

It is aiming to commence set-up at the CSIRO in late July with results to be gathered over a period of about 4 weeks. A second round of testing later in the year will be considered pending results.

Concurrently, the company recently acquired a high power solar simulator from the US and will continue to progress laboratory work in parallel with the prototyping and pilot plant development works.




This article was developed in collaboration with Sparc Technologies, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.


This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.