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Accelerating the Pathway to Scalable, Cheap & Clean Green Hydrogen Production

The global community has set out on a mission to reduce carbon emissions, and renewable energy sources are emerging as the most cost-effective means of generating new energy worldwide. However, not all applications are suitable for renewable energy or direct electrification. Hydrogen and green molecules (such as ammonia and methanol produced from hydrogen) will play a vital role in decarbonizing industries such as fertilizer, chemical production, shipping, and aviation. The benefits of hydrogen include its versatility, high energy density, and near-zero emissions, making it an attractive option for sectors that are hard to decarbonise. It is anticipated that hydrogen or hydrogen-based fuels will contribute approximately 15-23% of total energy consumption by 2050, according to Agora Energiewiende. More than 20 countries, representing almost half of global GDP, have already embraced hydrogen strategies or are planning to do so.

Hydrogen has received significant attention recently, with approximately 360 global hydrogen projects, requiring more than $500Bn investment, expected to commence operations worldwide by 2030. Ecolectro is a company that develops advanced hydrocarbon-based materials which enables hydrogen to be produced in a more cost-effective and sustainable way. Its products significantly extend the lifetime of next generation electrolyser systems, called Anion Exchange Membranes (AEM), lowering hydrogen production cost.

Today, 95% of hydrogen production is grey hydrogen made from fossil fuels such as natural gas through a process called steam-methane reforming (SMR), contributing to approximately 2% of global industrial sector CO2 emissions[1]. The holy grail is green hydrogen, which is the cleanest and most sustainable type of hydrogen produced from renewable energy through a process called electrolysis. Electrolysis splits water into hydrogen and oxygen using renewable electricity. Existing electrolyser systems today, however, face several challenges that prevent their widespread commercial adoption. Alkaline electrolyser systems are low-cost but have efficiency challenges, while PEM electrolyser systems are highly efficient but have scalability limits due to their reliance on precious metals. AEM electrolysers are an exciting alternative that combines the benefits of both alkaline and PEM systems, but their commercial viability is limited today largely because their lifetime is too short. Overcoming these limitations will allow AEM electrolysers to become a potential game-changer and market disruptor in the electrolysis field and contribute to a sustainable, low-carbon energy future.

Ecolectro has developed novel polymers and materials for hydrogen production. Its alkaline exchange materials reduce the capital costs of hydrogen technologies while potentially increasing their lifetimes, enabling businesses to access cost-competitive green hydrogen. The company is initially targeting the AEM electrolyzer market, where its core innovation and intellectual property (IP) lies in a new class of materials that exhibit unprecedented chemical, mechanical, and electrochemical durability under harsh alkaline conditions versus competitors. Ecolectro’s core IP solves the durability issues currently preventing the AEM electrolyzer market from cost competitively scaling up.

Ecolectro’s next-generation technology eliminates the need for expensive platinum group metals (PGMs) found in today’s electrolyzers. Eliminating these expensive and scarce PGMs makes producing green hydrogen cheaper, scalable, and avoids supply chain risk associated with acquiring rare metals. At the helm of the company stands a distinguished team of accomplished individuals, Gabriel G. Rodriguez-Calero (CEO) and Kristina M. Huger (CSO), both PhDs and co-developers of the technology. They have collaborated with world-renowned experts in the fields of electrochemistry, molecular electronics, fuel cells, batteries, and electrocatalysis to create and drive the company forward. Ecolectro has secured funding from some of the leading investors in the climate sector, including Toyota Ventures and NY Ventures. We are excited to be supporting Ecolectro’s growth as they accelerate the pathway to scalable, cheap & clean green hydrogen production.