Sparc Hydrogen begins groundbreaking photocatalytic water splitting reactor testing in Newcastle

Sparc Hydrogen has commenced prototype testing of its photocatalytic water splitting (PWS) reactor at the CSIRO Energy Centre in Newcastle

Sparc schematic

The testing at the CSIRO Energy Centre in Newcastle represents a world-leading demonstration of on-sun photocatalytic water splitting under concentrated sunlight. As the testing program progresses, it holds the promise of reshaping the landscape of green hydrogen technology and its viability in real-world applications.

Sparc Hydrogen's PWS reactor holds immense promise, utilizing sunlight, water, and a photocatalyst as an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional electrolysis for green hydrogen production. This patented reactor has the potential to substantially enhance the efficiency of hydrogen generation from water using concentrated solar energy, potentially offering cost and flexibility advantages over conventional electrolysis.

The primary objectives of this prototype testing are multi-fold. Sparc aims to elevate the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of its PWS reactor from 4 to 5, bringing it one step closer to becoming a commercially deployable product. Plus, the data and insights gathered during this testing phase will be invaluable for the design of a pilot plant reactor. This initiative also allows for the benchmarking of laboratory results obtained under simulated solar conditions against real-world performance.

The prototype PWS reactor unit has been successfully mounted atop the solar tower and been integrated with water, power, and communication systems. Following calibration work with the heliostat field and preliminary tests, the formal testing program officially began on September 13, 2023.

The outcomes of this testing program will be closely watched by the industry and stakeholders eager to witness the potential of on-sun photocatalytic water splitting technology.

Sparc Hydrogen, a joint venture comprising Sparc Technologies, The University of Adelaide, and Fortescue Future Industries, received financial support of $28,688 through the CSIRO Kick-Start Program. This program is designed to bolster innovative Australian start-ups and small businesses by providing access to the research expertise and capabilities of CSIRO.

To read more about Sparc Hydrogen, go to the Sparc website here.

Industry Partners