Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) is acquiring an interest in Sparc Hydrogen Pty Ltd (Sparc Hydrogen) to develop and commercialise next-generation green hydrogen technology.
Sparc Hydrogen has an exclusive licence to develop and commercialise next-generation green hydrogen technology created by the University of Adelaide and Flinders University. The thermo-photocatalysis technology would use sunlight and water (photocatalytic water splitting coupled with solar radiation) instead of renewable energy and electrolysis to make green hydrogen.
The technology can create significant energy efficiencies and a cost-competitive advantage with low capital and operating expenditure required compared to renewable energy and electrolysis. If this early-stage technology is successful, it could ultimately be used to help produce green hydrogen at a larger and more affordable scale.
FFI will invest $1.8 million in the first stage and acquire a 20% interest in Sparc Hydrogen, a joint venture with Sparc Technologies and the University of Adelaide. At the second stage, FFI could invest a further $1.475 million into Sparc Hydrogen for a total of $3.275 million over 4.5 years to hold a 36% interest in Sparc Hydrogen.
The technology developed to date was supported by ASTRI (Australian Solar Thermal Research Institute), with contributions totalling A$ 2.5 million over five years from the University of Adelaide and Flinders University.
This process to produce green hydrogen means that neither independent renewable electricity would not be required nor does the electrolysis process need to be employed.
Julie Shuttleworth, CEO of FFI, said, “The research being undertaken by Sparc Hydrogen is important for FFI’s growing technology portfolio as we continue to develop technologies to lower emissions globally.”
Stephen Hunt, Chairman of Sparc Technologies, commented, “FFI is well placed to assist the development and commercialisation of Sparc Hydrogen’s green hydrogen photocatalytic technology.”
Dr Stephen Rodda, Director at the University of Adelaide, added, “Not only is FFI’s hydrogen energy strategy strongly aligned to that of Sparc Hydrogen, but FFI will also bring a high level of capability and expertise to support the successful development of this innovative technology.