News – AU – C-Zero Raises US $ 115M to Scaling Turquoise Hydrogen Technology


Breakthrough Energy Ventures and Eni Next, we support the startup’s plan to turn natural gas into low-cost, carbon-free hydrogen

Startup C-Zero sees a cost-effective way for “turquoise-colored hydrogen” from natural gas to promote green hydrogen from renewable energies

A hydrogen economy’s promise to replace fossil fuels typically focuses on the potential for “green hydrogen”, which is produced by the electrolysis of water with carbon-free electricity. However, the vast majority of industrial hydrogen production today is “gray” and is going off Natural gas made by steam methane reforming – a process that emits carbon dioxide, but at a low cost, that electrolysis will find hard to beat in the decades to come

Natural gas can also be converted into hydrogen without carbon emissions via a different spectrum of the hydrogen range. These include “blue hydrogen” – steam methane reforming with carbon capture and storage – or another technique, methane pyrolysis, which is nicknamed “turquoise” for the merger of blue and green had received

This is the goal of C-Zero, a startup backed by venture capitalists, to take its approach from lab testing to pilot plant On Tuesday the Santa Barbara, California-based company announced $ 11 million Series A Round, led by Breakthrough Energy Ventures, founded by Bill Gates, and Eni Next, the venture investing arm of Italian oil company Eni, other investors were AP Ventures and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the Japanese industrial giant, who is involved in a high-profile project to create a hydrogen -Hubs invested for the western US

The company also raised $ 3 million through two US grants Department of Energy and a 350$ 000 project with California utilities Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California Gas to test certain elements of the pyrolysis reactor design The new investment will fund the first pilot-scale manufacturing facility, CEO Zach Jones said in an interview

C-Zero competes in a field of heavyweights The chemical company BASF is building a turquoise-colored hydrogen pilot plant in collaboration with a consortium of German companies and research institutes The Australian company Hazer Group has received government support for the construction of a pilot plant in the his own pyrolysis process is being tested And you Monolith Materials on the basis, which was also invested by Mitsubishi, produces hydrogen and carbon black for industrial purposes in a plant in Nebraska

But C-Zero differs from these competitors in a few key ways, said Jones. The first is the method chosen, methane pyrolysis, a high temperature process for converting methane to hydrogen gas and solid carbon in the presence of a catalyst. This carbon can be in solid form ” bound ”, which avoids the emissions of gray hydrogen and the technical and cost problems of blue hydrogen when it is separated as a gas

BASF and Hazer use carbon respectively Iron ore as catalysts, while Monolith uses high-temperature plasma, which provides “beautiful soot for tires and other fabrics,” he said. C-Zero settled on a molten nickel-based catalyst after experimenting with molten salts and metals in a continuous flow process, he said. p>

C-Zero’s “secret sauce” extracts the carbon from the high temperature melt, he said. While Jones refused to go into details, the process involves a circulation loop that allows the carbon in one section of the reactor to be converted into a gas-solid To deposit suspension which can then be extracted through a variety of existing industrial processes

The second big difference for C-Zero is the decision to forego trying to turn solid carbon into a potentially valuable by-product. Instead, the company wants to “have the most cost-effective hydrogen production, even to the extent that we keep the carbon dump need to include ”

in our cost structure

There is a cost to this choice while hydrogen makes up about 60 percent of the energy in methane, carbon makes up the remaining 40 percent – energy lost in converting it to a solid rather than burning it. In a world in Since the value of carbon-free energy is not rewarded, it makes good economic sense to find ways to get paid for it in a solid form

Choosing a process to optimize industrial-scale hydrogen production at the expense of a high-quality carbon by-product, on the other hand, “seemed like a gamble three years ago, but hopefully now looks like the right decision,” he said

This is because C-Zero expects its process to deliver hydrogen at a price of around $ 150 per kilogram, roughly the same as gray hydrogen, he said, which is way below today’s cost of green hydrogen through Electrolysis, which is between $ 4 per kilogram and more

That price is sure to fall as massive government mandates and incentives spark a boom in global electrolysis capacity, according to Wood Mackenzie’s new report, national hydrogen strategies in Europe and Asia have 2050: The Hydrogen Possibility – a magnitude that exceeds existing global demand for gas targets of a total of 66 gigawatts are set without the end use for heating increasing significantly Power generation and fuel for ships, aircraft and long-distance transport

This growth is spurring green hydrogen project developers to make cost claims that will rival gray hydrogen by the end of the decade or sooner.These cost reductions are dependent on several factors including increased efficiency and economies of scale from electrolyzers and of course cost and the availability of carbon-free electricity to supply them

But Jones pointed out that the electricity it takes to produce one kilogram of green hydrogen is roughly seven times the equivalent amount of energy contained in the natural gas used to make one kilogram of turquoise hydrogen then turns out of course, the question of how often renewable energies can be inexpensively diverted to the production of hydrogen instead of supplying loads

And since much of the power generation sector’s plans for hydrogen focus on using it as a replacement for natural gas, installing a C-Zero reactor at the point where existing natural gas pipelines are fed into power plants could be a far less capital intensive solution as building or retrofitting a pipeline to transport hydrogen from distant sources

To be clear, the company is not making a strong claim that its process “will be cheaper than reforming steam methane,” Jones said. “However, we believe we will be cheaper than reforming steam methane plus carbon capture,” however “We don’t see this as the cost of producing hydrogen – we see it as the cost of avoiding CO2″”

While some cleantech investors question the wisdom of investing in technologies that continue to use natural gas, “when you are sitting on billions or trillions of dollars in natural gas reserves, what are you going to do with it?” We see ourselves as a bridge between existing natural gas facilities and reserves into a low-carbon future ”

Hydrogen, Natural Gas, Financing, Startups, Bill Gates, Series A Round

News – AU – C-Zero brings in $ 115M to scale “Turquoise Hydrogen “Technology