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H2SITE raises €12.5mn to scale up breakthrough membrane reactor technology

Spain’s H2SITE, a deep-tech pioneer in on-site hydrogen (H2) production, has raised €12.5 million in a Series A funding round led by Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV).

Membrane bundle for ammonia cracking reactor
Membrane bundle for ammonia cracking reactor - Photo: H2SITE.

The funding will accelerate the scale up of H2SITE's integrated membrane reactor and membrane separation technologies to obtain fuel cell purity hydrogen from ammonia or methanol cracking, or enable hydrogen transportation in existing natural gas infrastructure. H2SITE will also increase its membrane manufacturing capabilities, operating a unique membrane manufacturing plant in the North of Spain.

The funding round also had 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)).

“While much focus is given to hydrogen generation cost reduction, less attention is given to 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,” says Andrés Galnares, H2SITE’s CEO.

TECNALIA, Spain’s largest private research center, and the Technical University of Eindhoven developed the advanced membrane reactors that combine special membranes with one-process-step reactors to produce onsite, low-cost renewable hydrogen. ENGIE’s CRIGEN contributed to the development of the commercial version of the reactor. Intellectual Property was transferred into H2SITE to commercialise the technology.

H2SITE has since developed these onsite hydrogen generation units. Double skin inorganic membranes with long lifespan, integrated into process units can both crack hydrogen carriers and separate the hydrogen from blends in natural gas infrastructure or purify it in dedicated hydrogen infrastructure.

“Hydrogen is a promising pathway to decarbonize 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,” says Carmichael Roberts of Breakthrough Energy Ventures.

H2SITE has recently been awarded projects to transform ammonia into H2 for the bus fleet in Birmingham, England, biogas into H2 for hydrogen refueling stations in Spain and in France, as well as several separation projects from H2/natural gas blends in the gas transport infrastructure that are under construction.