Arid regions of Australia could become energy exporters with a new solar-to-hydrogen project. Startup Aqua Aerem intends to test the new technology in a pilot region of Australia. This is stated in the startup blog.
To export energy over a distance, you need a lot of water. However, in the case of arid and desert regions, they simply do not have such luxury. A new project in the Australian outback will test an innovative technology for converting solar energy into hydrogen by trapping moisture from the air and separating it through hydrolysis, which will allow hot arid regions to become energy exporters.
The pilot city will be Tennant Creek, located on the northern edge of Australia’s famous red center, a colossal expanse of rocky desert.
Like much of northern Australia, there is plenty of sun, but not a ton of water to export energy. As Australia strives to become a clean energy exporter based on hydrogen, Tennant Creek is a good place to try out a new technology that does not require large amounts of municipal water or local electricity connections.
New startup Aqua Aerem has signed a 12-week contract with the North Carolina state government to test a solar + air + hydrogen system. The energy will be captured through a dual-axis tracking photovoltaic concentrator system, which the company says will capture energy twice as efficiently as a conventional silicon panel.
The next step is to convert this energy into transportable hydrogen through electrolysis, which requires only electricity and water as inputs. Here Aqua Aerem applies its secret sauce: an atmospheric water capture system that sucks moisture out of the air. According to the company, it works more efficiently in warmer climates, requires little maintenance and produces no waste other than air. Tests will mainly focus on the process of capturing water, the rest of the elements are currently quite mature technologies.
“This test is the first phase of a renewable hydrogen pilot project,” the North Carolina government said in a statement, “which will ultimately produce renewable hydrogen for the Tennant Creek power plant.
Aqua Aerem’s proposed system in the future includes the installation of a 15-megawatt cell, which the company estimates will produce about 912 tons of green hydrogen per year, providing about half of the energy used by Tennant Creek.