The round was led by Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV), with participation from Equinor Ventures, ENGIE New Ventures, TECNALIA, and institutional investors from the Basque Country – Capital Riesgo País Vasco (EZTEN FCR) and Seed Capital Bizkaia (SCB).- Partner content –
Founded in 2019, H2SITE is a deeptech startup that uses advanced membrane reactor technology to solve the hydrogen transport problem by converting hydrogen carriers with well-known supply chains and separating hydrogen gas blends into fuel cell purity hydrogen.
H2SITE has created on-site hydrogen-producing devices. Long-lasting double-skin inorganic membranes may break hydrogen carriers, extract hydrogen from blends in natural gas infrastructure, or purify it in specialised hydrogen infrastructure. These membranes are incorporated into process units.
The company claims to have witnessed strong commercial traction in 2022. It was awarded projects to transform ammonia into H2 for the bus fleet in Birmingham, England; biogas into H2 for hydrogen refuelling stations in Spain and in France; and several separation projects from H2 / natural gas blends in the gas transport infrastructure under construction.
H2SITE says that the proceeds will help accelerate the scale up of its integrated membrane reactor and membrane separation technologies. This will help the company ]obtain fuel cell purity hydrogen from ammonia or methanol cracking, or enable hydrogen transportation in existing natural gas infrastructure.
H2SITE’s CEO, Andres Galnares, says. “While much focus is given to hydrogen generation cost reduction, less attention is given to the reduction of hydrogen transport cost. Transporting hydrogen is a complex task, it being a small molecule that is difficult to contain. The current compression, storage, decompression, and transport solutions are both economically and environmentally inefficient.”
TECNALIA, Spain’s largest private research centre, and the Technical University of Eindhoven realised that 13 years ago and developed the advanced membrane reactors. They combine special membranes with one-process-step reactors to produce onsite, low-cost renewable hydrogen. ENGIE’s R&D entity CRIGEN contributed to the development of the commercial version of the reactor. Intellectual Property was transferred into the newly created H2SITE to commercialise the technology.
The funds will help H2SITE to increase its membrane manufacturing capabilities, operating a “world-unique” membrane manufacturing plant in the North of Spain.
Support from the investors
Carmichael Roberts of Breakthrough Energy Ventures, says, “Hydrogen is a promising pathway to decarbonise many parts of the economy but transporting it remains one of the biggest challenges. H2SITE has developed a solution that solves the transportation issue and will change the game for how quickly hydrogen can be deployed in already established pipelines which in turn could save billions of dollars in infrastructure costs.”
Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, says, “The hydrogen economy needs to take off and I believe investments such as the current one may indeed be one of the triggers we’re waiting for. Facilitating hydrogen transport will be important to scale it up. This shows that public funds can be married to private funds successfully, as happened with BEV-E. Investments in the energy transition must however take place at an even faster pace if we want to succeed in our climate ambition.”
Breakthrough Energy Ventures Europe (BEV-E) was founded by the European Commission, the European Investment Bank, and Breakthrough Energy Ventures, to invest in European businesses and sell fresh clean energy innovations. It was created to help Europe’s clean energy entrepreneurs whose products can permanently reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Breakthrough Energy Ventures was founded by Bill Gates and backed by many of the world’s top business leaders. It has raised more than $2B to support companies that are leading the world to net-zero emissions.
European Investment Bank (EIB) Vice-President Ricardo Mourinho Félix says, “To meet the global climate and energy challenges, we must scale up investment for clean energy technologies. Together with our partners at the European Commission, we are supporting Breakthrough Energy Ventures Europe which is investing in European companies such as H2SITE to find innovative solutions that will put the world on track to net-zero emissions.”
“Transporting green hydrogen from geographies with strong renewable energy resources to demand centres is an important part of the EU Hydrogen and decarbonisation strategy. At the EIB, we will continue to work with our partners and project promoters to support the clean energy transition in Europe and around the world,” adds Félix.