- Norwegian hydrogen startup Hystar has raised $26 million in a Series B funding round.
- The company has developed technology to help create green hydrogen more efficiently and safely.
- We got an exclusive look at the 20-slide pitch deck he used to raise funds.
A startup that helps others make hydrogen more efficiently and safely just raised $26 million in a Series B funding round.
The Norwegian company Hystar, founded in 2020, has developed a new technology to produce hydrogen from the electrolysis of water. The process is a chemical reaction that splits water into oxygen and hydrogen; the hydrogen thus created is called green hydrogen, in order to differentiate itself from other production methods.
There is strong momentum for green hydrogen from politicians and the public, Hystar CEO Fredrik Mowill told Insider. Mowill, who worked in the energy industry for 20 years, described having to “fight and claw” for every dollar in the past.
But in 2022, the European Union alone has bet 3 billion euros ($3.2 billion) on hydrogen through its Innovation Fund. Demand could reach up to 660 million tonnes of hydrogen by 2050, reducing global emissions by more than 20%, according to McKinsey.
Mowill said green hydrogen can act as a buffer against intermittent renewables and should be powered by them as well, but a key part of the puzzle is making sure you get more energy than you don’t spend to create it.
Green hydrogen can also be used to power industrial processes, as a sustainable fuel, or to create ammonia, which is used in everything from fertilizers and plastics to pharmaceuticals.
Hystar, spun off from research organization SINTEF, says its patented proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolysers are more efficient and safer than the industry standard. A PEM electrolyser is made up of three main parts: a cathode, which attracts hydrogen, an anode, which attracts oxygen, and a membrane in the middle into which water is introduced.
When electricity is added to water, it splits into hydrogen and oxygen. Gases move through the membrane, usually made of metal, to their respective sides.
“Almost all losses in electrolyzers are a result of this resistance across this membrane,” Mowill said. “The thicker the membrane, the higher the resistance, the higher the losses, and the more electricity you need to create that hydrogen particle.”
By using thinner membranes, Hystar is able to eliminate some of this friction, Mowill said. This is usually accompanied by a risk of explosion, as the gases may continue to mix after being separated. Hydrogen and oxygen are an explosive gas mixture. Hystar solves this problem by adding air to the oxygen, which dilutes it.
It is designed for industrial processes, the company claims. It targets hard-to-reduce and energy-intensive industries such as steel, ammonia and heavy transportation as customers. Hystar’s technology is modular, meaning it can be scaled to suit the use case.
This is reflected in the choice of its investors. The round was co-led by AP Ventures and Mitsubishi Corporation. Finindus, Nippon Steel Trading, Hillhouse Investment and Trustbridge Partners also participated alongside existing investors SINTEF Ventures and Firda.
“We wanted to have a combination of large, strong international companies that could work with us to grow the business. All of our industrial investors are very large potential customers. So in some cases they are also potential suppliers,” Mowill said. . , who added that it was difficult to raise funds due to investor appetite rather than otherwise dry capital markets.
The fresh money will be used to grow the company’s workforce from 30 to 50 over the next 12 months as it transitions to commercialization. It plans to commission a gigawatt-capacity automated production line by 2025 while carrying out projects with partners.
Check out the 20-slide pitch deck below: