A new project in Australia's interior will test an innovative technology to convert water into hydrogen by capturing water in the air and cracking it with solar energy, so that hot, dry areas can also become energy exports.
Tennant Creek is an Australian town with three bars and 3000 people. It is the territory of Crocodile Dundee and has a warm desert climate. Like most parts of northern Australia, there is plenty of sunshine, but not a ton of water to export.
Therefore, with Australia positioning itself as a green hydrogen energy exporter, Tennant Creek has naturally become a good place to try new technologies. It is understood that this technology does not require a lot of municipal water, nor does it need to be connected to the local power grid to produce hydrogen.
It is reported that Aqua aerem, a new start-up company, has signed a 12 week trial agreement with the NT government on a solar + air hydrogen production system. Power is produced through a two axis tracking concentrating photovoltaic system, which is twice as efficient as conventional silicon panels in capturing energy.
The next step is to convert this energy into transportable hydrogen by electrolysis, which requires only electricity and water as inputs. Here, aqua aerem shows off its secret weapon: an atmospheric water capture system that sucks moisture out of the air. The company says it works more efficiently in warmer climates, requires little maintenance and generates no waste other than air.
"This is the first phase of the renewable hydrogen pilot project," the Northern Territory government said in a statement. It will eventually produce renewable hydrogen for territory generation, a state-owned power generation company in Northern Territory, and become part of the Tennant Creek Community Power portfolio. "
It is understood that Aqua aerem's proposed system includes the installation of a 15 MW electrolytic cell, which is expected to produce about 912 tons of green hydrogen every year, providing about half of the energy required by Tennant Creek Community, but the final scale may be much larger. The company said that the technology can be expanded to larger units, so as to export hydrogen in bulk to the Asian market.