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Climate love

This Israeli start-up wants to compete with Putin's gas with cheap green hydrogen

By: Rianne Lachmeijer The Israeli start-up H2Pro claims to have found a way to make cheap green hydrogen without energy loss. The start-up aims for a price of 1 dollar per kilogram. “If it costs 1 dollar per kilogram, you can burn it in a similar way to Putin's natural gas,” says CEO Talmon Marco. On a whiteboard in a cooled Israeli meeting room, Talmon Marco draws out how he wants to arrive at that 1 dollar. With his white polo and glasses, Marco looks like the textbook example of a CEO of a tech startup. A group of journalists sit around a large conference table to listen to his story. The Swiss army knife of energy Marco starts with a video of Bill Gates. With his investment fund Breakthrough Energy, Gates is one of the largest investors in H2Pro. “The Swiss army knife for energy”, is how the multi-billionaire describes (green) hydrogen. The energy carrier can be used in industry, as a fuel for vehicles, to heat houses and to store energy for a longer period of time. Marco is also convinced of the opportunities of green hydrogen, but at the same time believes that we have to make choices. “Hydrogen can be used for almost anything. But just because you can do something doesn't mean you should do it.” For example, he sees opportunities for hydrogen in the steel industry and as a jet fuel from 2060. The challenges of green hydrogen Despite the promises of (green) hydrogen, large-scale production is not yet taking place. This is because producing green hydrogen is currently expensive. For example, the machines that are needed are expensive. In addition, around a third of the energy is lost as heat during the process. Marco compares this process to a light bulb. It also gets hot when it burns for a long time, while an LED lamp remains cool. H2Pro claims to have found a solution for both the energy loss and the high price. “To understand what we do, I first have to explain what others do,” says Marco. He asks if the journalists remember a chemistry test with a glass of water, some salt and a battery. A few of those present mutter yes. “But I don't remember well,” says one of them. Marco explains it again. By passing current through water, hydrogen bubbles collect on one side and oxygen bubbles on the other. According to him, this is the technique that is now most commonly used. To prevent an explosion, hydrogen and oxygen must not come into contact with each other after separation. That is why there is a dividing line between them: the membrane. The more hydrogen that is generated, the more precarious the process and the more expensive the equipment. Hydrogen production without a membrane H2Pro produces hydrogen without a membrane. This is achieved by dividing the process into two phases. In the first phase, they drain the hydrogen, while they put the oxygen in a kind of battery. When the battery is full, they replace the liquid (the ekolyte) with warm liquid so that the battery discharges. This is phase two. Because the hydrogen and oxygen are not released at the same time, H2Pro requires less expensive equipment. It also uses a raw material that is present in abundance: nickel. Finally, hardly any energy is lost in the process. “We discovered that we can achieve almost 100 percent efficiency.” As a result, Marco believes that he will be able to produce green hydrogen cheaply in the long term. He aims for a price of 1 dollar per kilogram by 2030. The importance of a low price “If it costs 1 dollar per kilogram, you can burn it in a similar way to Putin's natural gas,” says de Marco. To explain how he wants to arrive at that price, he changes the chemistry class to an economics class. “You have to make sure that the OPEX costs, such as the energy costs, and the CAPEX costs - the costs for the equipment - together do not exceed 1 dollar per kilowatt hour,” Marco explains. Some of the journalists present now look glassily at the whiteboard while the CEO talks about the ways in which H2Pro reduces costs. With the equipment, what matters is how much the device costs and how often a buyer uses it. “You can compare it to a rental car. If it costs $100 and you drive it for an hour, the car will cost $100 per hour. If you want to lower the cost per hour, you have to use it longer.” The other components in his calculation are energy and commodity prices. Now renewable energy costs between $30 and $40 per megawatt hour. He thinks he will need a maximum of 43 kilowatt hours to make 1 kilogram of hydrogen and expects the price to reach USD 15 per megawatt hour by 2030. Then his product becomes profitable. The best technology He compares his E-TAC technique with other electrolysis techniques such as solid oxide, alkaline and PEM. According to him, membrane-free studies are now only being carried out with alkaline. He lists the disadvantages of the other techniques: “Alkaline and solid oxide do not work well when the amount of energy varies. PEM can handle that, but it is more expensive and has problems with raw materials. Solid oxide is very efficient, but needs a high temperature, so it is only interesting if you can use residual heat. You can also not turn off the technology. As soon as you buy it, the device is on until you throw it away.” Without pausing for breath, Marco continues with the advantages of his technique: “E-Tac works fine with intermittent power, is more efficient than solid oxide and does not use rare materials, which means it will be cheaper than alkaline. It really is an all-in-one technology,” he says proudly. He sees only one problem: that it is still in the development phase.

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41 more agrees trigger contact with the recipient

  • Daryl Cleary

    79 w

    Highly explosive hydrogen is just a distraction to keep us addicted to fuel billionaires products, the only clean, safe, renewable, sustainable, infinite and free for the collection energy is sunshine, the wind, geothermal and ocean energy

    • Tabitha Kimani

      79 w

      This is a great solution.

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