Advanced Ionics, a climate tech The Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based startup is aiming to drive down the price of green hydrogen by reducing the electricity demand for electrolysis by up to 50%.
That’s an admirable goal, because for all the talk of hydrogen as the “fuel of the future,” the industry is still, for the most part, dirty – driving climate chaos through polluting production methods.
Most of the hydrogen gas produced by humans is “grey”; a classification that means manufacturers rely on methane (or worse, burning coal) to isolate the element for use in fertilizers and as a fuel. But with growing awareness of climate change and interest in hydrogen-powered cargo, so has the demand for a greener alternative. Unlike the gray stuff, “green” hydrogen uses renewable energy and electrolysis to separate water into hydrogen and oxygen. It’s a climatically superior production method, but it’s also costly because it requires a lot of clean energy.
As Advanced Ionics founder Chad Mason says, the startup’s upcoming electrolyser will use “35 kilowatt-hours to produce one kilogram of hydrogen by operating at 300 degrees Celsius,” while industrial heat and non-ceramic materials (those used at operating at lower than typical temperatures) be tapped ) and steam instead of liquid water. According to the CEO, “existing technologies are typically between 45 and 60 [Kilowatt-hours] Range, practically speaking.”
The executive presented himself on stage at TechCrunch Disrupt Startup Battlefield in San Francisco today.
There are other ways to reduce the cost of electrolysis, e.g. B. by making cheaper electrolysers and limiting maintenance. “But if you don’t address electricity usage and the price of electricity, it doesn’t matter,” Mason told TechCrunch. The company is targeting between 20% and 50% less power consumption.
The CEO said his interest in electrolyzers was first sparked by anhydrous ammonia fertilizer that his family applied to crops on their North Dakota farm. “So I understood early on,” Mason said, “how important hydrogen is to making all these important feedstocks and chemicals, which are also very polluting industries.”
Armed with $4.2 million in seed funding from Boston’s Clean Energy Ventures and Texas-based SWAN Impact Network, Advanced Ionics has a long way to go. The company intends to deploy “demonstration units with a few partners” and begin sales from next year, targeting 2025 for a commercial launch. Then “we’re going to try to really step on the gas and produce as many of these as we can and try to make as big an impact as we can as quickly as we can in the second half of the decade,” Mason said.