1s1 Energy closed out a $2.15 million seed round to deliver water electrolysis as the basis for an all-renewable hydrogen production plant in Portugal that doesn't require any fossil-derived natural gas.
Lisbon-based 1s1 Energy's proposed hydrogen plant was sanctioned by the European Commission in July as one of 41 hydrogen tech projects being partially underwritten by public funds through the Hy2Tech important project of Common European Interest (IPCEI).
Hy2Tech has a maximum €5.4bn honey pot from its EU state underwriters but is also expected to create €8.8 billion in private-sector funding opportunities.
EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager, who through her state aid remit takes responsibility for crafting IPCEI awards, predicted in July the Hy2Tech programme would become an exemplar for "ambitious European cooperation", coming in the wake of Russia weaponising natural gas exports.
1s1 Energy's 300MW/year hydrogen plant would use water electrolysers to make hydrogen, reducing carbon emissions and offering a stable alternative to wind, solar and hydro dams, as well as traditional carbon-heavy fossil fuels.
Proceeds from the seed round will be used to finish up planning paperwork for the hydrogen plant, and to lay the foundations for establishing a green hydrogen R&D programme.
Faber and CSN Inova feature as lead investors, with further participation from Asiri, Gibson Lane, Aquarius Capital, Ecoa Capital and Faber.
Often hydrogen is produced by applying steam to methane molecules in natural gas so that the gas is heated and the other molecules - hydrogen and carbon - become residual and accessible.
At present this generally means pumping carbon dioxide out into the atmosphere though increasingly net zero-conscious developers are increasingly choosing to include carbon storage facilities, for example sequestering the gas into depleted offshore oil and gas fields.
The latter form of hydrogen is known as "blue hydrogen", and is also being adopted as a potential solution in the fight against climate change. Critics say it shouldn't be classified as low carbon, due to the fact that it still produces emissions, even though it's often cheaper to deliver.
1s1 Energy instead grabs hydrogen molecules from H2O compounds in water by applying electrolysis to spark a chemical reaction, meaning only oxygen is discharged.
In energy industry parlance, this is called "green hydrogen." But procuring renewable electricity to make green hydrogen also costs money, which means the market must weigh up production costs against the environmental benefit, and drawbacks of other energy forms.
In addition, 1s1 Energy hopes to make improved materials to build hydrogen fuel cells, which can be used to convert gaseous hydrogen into electricity.
Carlos Esteban, Faber investment partner, commented: "We are very excited to join 1s1 Energy at this inflection and help lay the groundwork for executing their IPCEI project and future development."
"1st1 Energy's unique solution will accelerate economically viable use and production of green hydrogen, which is critical to decarbonising hard-to-abate sectors like heavy industry and heavy-duty transport, including maritime shipping."