The photocatalytic technology at the core of Sparc’s green hydrogen pilot plant joint venture is a key step closer to intellectual property protection.

The international Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) patent application relating to the photocatalytic solar reactor filed by the University of Adelaide and Flinders University has now been published – a key step towards the granting of patents in national jurisdictions.

This is hugely important for Sparc Technologies (ASX:SPN) given its exclusive, royalty-free licence to use the technology.

Plans to build a pilot plant have been accelerated by the company and its partners – Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) and the University of Adelaide – after the Preliminary Techno-Economic Analysis found that the patent pending photocatalytic water splitting technology could produce green hydrogen at low cost.

“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,” executive chairman Stephen Hunt said.

Photocatalytic water splitting technology

The technology developed over five years by the two universities. During this period, they used progressed their understanding and designs of a solar reactor which utilises 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 increases temperature in the solar reactor, which has been shown to increase reaction efficiencies, while allowing for a reduction in the amount of photocatalyst material required for a given production rate.

This technology significantly reduces the need for wind farms or massive arrays of solar panels that are required for traditional electrolysis, which is expected to reduce costs substantially.

R&D work is ongoing at the University of Adelaide to develop new and better solar reactor designs and testing under a range of simulated solar conditions.




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.