This startup that makes green hydrogen more efficient and safer just raised $26 million. Check out the 20-slide pitch deck Hystar used to win over investors.
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- 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 it used to raise the cash.
A startup helping others make hydrogen more efficiently and safely just raised $26 million in a Series B funding round.
Norwegian company Hystar, founded in 2020, has built new technology to produce hydrogen from water electrolysis. The process is a chemical reaction that splits water into oxygen and hydrogen; hydrogen created this way is known as green hydrogen, in order to differentiate from other production methods.
There is strong momentum for green hydrogen from both politicians and the public, Hystar CEO Fredrik Mowill told Insider. Mowill, who has 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 placed a 3 billion euro ($3.2 billion) bet on hydrogen through its Innovation Fund. Demand could reach up to 660 million tons of hydrogen by 2050, slashing more than 20 percent of global emissions, according to McKinsey.
Mowill said that green hydrogen can act as a buffer towards intermittent renewables and should also be powered by them, but a key piece of the puzzle is ensuring you get more energy out than you put into creating 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, which spun out of the research organization SINTEF, claims its patented proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyzers are more efficient and safer than the industry standard. A PEM electrolyzer is made up of three main parts: a cathode, which attracts the hydrogen, an anode, which attracts the oxygen, and a membrane in the middle which water is fed into.
When electricity is added to the water, it splits into hydrogen and oxygen. The gases move through the membrane, typically made up of metal, to their respective sides.
“Almost all of the losses in electrolyzers are a result of that resistance across that membrane,” Mowill said. “The thicker the membrane, the higher the resistance, the higher losses, and the more electricity you need to create that one particle of hydrogen.”
By using thinner membranes, Hystar is able to remove some of this friction, Mowill said. This typically comes with an explosion risk, as the gases can continue to mix after being separated. Hydrogen and oxygen is an explosive gas mixture. Hystar solves this by adding air into the oxygen, which dilutes it.
It is built for industrial processes, the company claims. It is targeting hard-to-abate and power-intensive industries such as steel, ammonia, and heavy-duty transportation as customers. Hystar’s technology is modular, meaning it can be scaled up and down depending on the use case.
This is reflected in its choice of 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 strong, large international corporations who could work with us to grow the business. All of our industrial investors are very large, potential customers. So in some cases, they’re also potential suppliers,” said Mowill, who added that raising funds was difficult due to investor appetite rather than the otherwise dry capital markets.
The fresh cash will be used to grow the company’s headcount from 30 to 50 in the next 12 months as it scales up to commercialization. It plans to have an automated gigawatt-capacity production line in operation by 2025 while also delivering projects with partners.
Check out the 20-slide pitch deck below: