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Hydrogen Power

US start-ups advance alternative electrolyzers

Novel technologies attract funding and move closer to commercialization

by Alex Scott
September 28, 2023 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 101, Issue 32


An image of a chemical plant.
Credit: Verdagy
Verdagy has been testing its novel electrolyzer at its pilot plant, shown above, in Moss Landing, California.

Peregrine Hydrogen and Verdagy, two US start-ups developing novel electrolyzer technologies, have taken steps toward the commercialization of their technologies.

Santa Cruz, California–based Peregrine Hydrogen, which is developing an electrolyzer that splits water into hydrogen and other oxygen-rich industrial chemicals—rather than just elemental oxygen—has raised $7.8 million from investors. The company will use the money to scale up its technology. The firm was spun out of climate technology incubator Orca Sciences in June.

Peregrine’s first coproducts will be fertilizers. The firm claims that its hybrid approach cuts the amount of energy required to produce green hydrogen and commodity chemicals. “It makes energetic and financial sense today, without a need for subsidies,” says Matt Shaner, cofounder and CTO of Peregrine, in a press release.

Meanwhile, California’s Verdagy has unveiled plans to start producing 20 MW versions of its anion-exchange membrane electrolyzer in the first quarter of 2024 in a new 9,000 m2 manufacturing facility in Newark, California. Verdagy raised $73 million in August in series B funding.

Verdagy says the unique architecture of the cells in its electrolyzer enables it to handle greater charge densities than standard alkaline electrolyzers. And its electrolyzers can be built larger than today’s proton-exchange membrane electrolyzers. Verdagy says its technology is on track to produce green hydrogen at a cost of $2 per kilogram by 2026.

With plentiful renewable energy in some regions of the US, the country has a strong potential to be a location for manufacturing and installing large-scale electrolyzers, says Pedro Raposo, director of Power-to-X for Swedish engineering firm Afry.

When it comes to Peregrine and Verdagy, they have unproven technology and face all the challenges that start-ups do, Raposo says. “The electrolyzers market is huge, so I foresee a long-term good market potential for both. However, without reference projects and several operating plants and many operating hours on plants of relevant size, the journey of success for these two could be quite long,” Raposo says.



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