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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

This Bill Gates-Backed Startup Wants to Make Green Hydrogen at $1/kg

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Microsoft founder Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-Shing, Japan’s Sumitomo Corp, and automaker Hyundai Motor Co have invested $22 million in an Israeli green hydrogen startup called H2Pro. H2Pro is a startup that aims to develop hydrogen generators based on the E-TAC (Electrochemical–Thermally Activated Chemical) process.

Bill Gates Invests in Green Hydrogen Startup

Unlike current methods to make green hydrogen such as alkaline water electrolysis, H2Pro takes a two-step approach in its hydrogen generation process. Instead of electric energy, H2Pro uses thermal energy for releasing the oxygen gas at the anode.

“An electrochemical step (left) reduces water by the conventional HER at the cathode, liberating hydroxide ions (OH–) that oxidize a nickel hydroxide (Ni(OH)2) anode into nickel oxyhydroxide (NiOOH). This step is followed by a chemical step (right), wherein the NiOOH anode reacts with water to spontaneously produce oxygen.”

e-tac water-splitting process

“The first (electrochemical) reaction occurs at ambient temperature (~25 °C), whereas the second (chemical) reaction proceeds at elevated temperatures (~95 °C) for the optimum rate of reaction. The first and second reactions sum up to the overall water-splitting reaction, 2H2O → 2H2 + O2,” reads the research paper published in Nature Journal.

This way, the company claims it can make green hydrogen for $1 per kilogram by the second half of the decade. H2Pro is reportedly capable of making 100 grams of hydrogen a day with its prototype. The startup has plans to scale up its operations to make 1 kilogram of hydrogen a day. So, H2Pro will use the new funding capital to scale up its research and development to make commercial electrolyzers.

“We definitely see a worldwide market for these devices. When we started the company back in 2019, it was much more difficult to have a conversation with investors about hydrogen. And today it’s like, ‘Oh, yeah, absolutely. Hydrogen is happening’,” said H2Pro’s chief executive Talmon Marco as per Bloomberg.

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