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Electriq Global; How is it going now with: the first generator on hydrogen powder

By Sebastian Maks
In 2022, Change Inc. about Electriq Global, a start-up pioneering powdered hydrogen. The Israeli company uses this hydrogen powder to power generators, which can then be used as an energy source on construction sites and in data centers. Almost a year has now passed. How is Electriq Global doing now? Are innovations progressing as planned?

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Baruch Halpert, CEO of Electriq Global, was recently in Amsterdam. The Israeli was invited as a speaker at a conference in honor of the brand new H2A consortium. The consortium aims to import 1 million tons of green hydrogen via the port of Amsterdam, thereby transforming the port into a real hydrogen hub. “It was a fantastic event,” says Halpert, who emphasizes that there is a lot of good will to make hydrogen part of a new energy system. “There were representatives from the port, from commercial parties, from the government and from the municipality. It was a good reflection of the fact that there must be broad cooperation in order for green hydrogen to succeed. I really like the Dutch mentality in this.”

The Netherlands loves hydrogen
That Halpert likes the Dutch mentality is evident from the fact that Electriq Global rolls out many of its innovations in the Netherlands. For example, the hydrogen powder was first used commercially in Ridderkerk, where it served (for demonstration purposes) as fuel for a construction crane. The start-up is also developing a factory in the port of Amsterdam, where the hydrogen powder should roll right off the belt.
“It works just like a generator,” says Baruch Halpert. CEO of Electriq Global. “But instead of diesel, we put powder and water in it.” The powder is pressed into small pellets that resemble large round mints with a hole in them. “They go into the generator just like the soap cubes for your dishwasher.” The Israeli entrepreneur regularly resorts to comparisons with household appliances to underline the simplicity of the powder's application. His mission is to make using hydrogen as easy as making coffee.

Nespresso
“With our technology you can make hydrogen like you make Nespresso. You take a capsule, mix it with water in a catalyst and you get hydrogen.” The residual product that remains and listens to the name KBO2, the company wants to reuse to make new hydrogen powder.
Electriq Global is still purchasing the hydrogen powder, but is working with tank storage company Zenith to develop its own factory in the port of Amsterdam. There it wants to make hydrogen powder from green hydrogen from 2025. The technology that Electriq Global uses for this is not new. It builds on years of studies and pilot projects by scientists and companies. “But we managed to make it work,” says Halpert.

Energy density hydrogen powder
The secret is in the substance that is used to make powder from hydrogen. Electriq Global uses potassium for this, where previous tests mainly opted for sodium. Although potassium has a lower energy density than these alternatives, it is easier to use. Moreover, it is not scarce and can be found in many places in the world.

It took Electriq Global four years and twenty million euros to get it done, says Halpert. “It was not easy. We have invested tens of millions in development and many millions have been lost in the process. We had to make a lot of mistakes to get here.”

Missing link
The entrepreneur is convinced that powdered hydrogen is the missing link in the hydrogen economy. “If we want to make hydrogen the energy carrier of the future, we will have to make it suitable for multiple applications. Just like we did with oil.”
Factories in the making
When asked about the development of the factory in Amsterdam, Halpert says that it is progressing steadily. “It will take a few years to build it. We have recently completed the permits and will start building soon. Our estimate that the factory would be operational in 2025 turned out to be a bit too ambitious. It is a process that takes a lot of time. We expect the plant to produce hydrogen powder from 2026.”

But that doesn't mean that Electriq Global is sitting still. Halpert and his team have been working to expand the hydrogen powder's potential market. “We are looking at a second location for a powder factory. To this end, we are in contact with areas with a lot of renewable energy sources, both in Europe and in the Middle East. In addition, we are discussing the possibilities of rolling out our technology outside the Dutch market with several partners.”

More energy from hydrogen powder
Halpert says Electriq Global is also fine-tuning its products. The company does this because the Dutch market has given a clear signal that a hydrogen powder generator must be able to power more than one device per construction site. That is not possible yet. That is why Electriq Global is optimizing the capacity of their generators.
"A healthy challenge"
The hydrogen market is very challenging, Halpert emphasises, and not everything has been figured out yet. This is because hydrogen as an energy source is still being developed. “It's like talking about the internet in 1991,” says Halpert. “We need time to think through all the implications. This is slow, but it is necessary to prevent negative effects from occurring. Let me be clear: I'm not complaining. It is important to do proper research before moving forward. What may seem like the slowest solution at first, will eventually be the fastest solution.”

Second half of the decade
Halpert believes Electriq Global's powder technology could be rolled out on a large scale by 2025. This concerns the systems that convert hydrogen powder into energy. The powder from their factories themselves will soon become available en masse, he thinks. “So we can start selling our systems to customers in the second half of this decade. In addition to construction sites, we also want to make them available for back-up systems, for example in buildings and data centers.”



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