France-based liquid hydrogen carrier developer HySiLabs has raised €13 million in series A funds.
The round is led by Equinor Ventures, the CVC division of Norwegian energy producer Equinor, with participation from car dealership operator PLD Automobile alongside the EU's European Innovation Council Fund, and EDP Ventures, the corporate venture arm of Energias de Portugal.
Based out of France's Aix-en-Provence, HySiLabs is on a mission to deliver molecules that would hold liquid hydrogen while in transit or storage.
Midstream infrastructure is a roadblock to rolling out hydrogen more widely. While existing natural gas pipelines can now be used for some hydrogen blends, in its gaseous form hydrogen is quite corrosive meaning small leaks can develop, due to a reaction known as hydrogen embrittlement.
HySiLabs' hydrogen technology is a silica-based carrier molecule for carrying liquidated hydrogen, and releasing the fuel as gas when needed. In a key differentiator from competitors, HySiLabs claims its carrier molecule would need energy to secure, but not to release, hydrogen gas.
Clean sources of hydrogen are considered crucial to the net zero transition. Heavy industries already use hydrogen fuels, but existing methods typically involve applying a catalyst to natural gas, which can result in carbon or methane leaking into the atmosphere.
Increasingly, automotive vehicles can be fuelled with liquid hydrogen, particularly heavy vehicles such as trucks which use fuel cells to convert it into electric propulsion.
HySiLabs will utilise the series A runway to continue its R&D programme, following early tests demonstrating its product is stable and works well with existing hydrogen infrastructure.
Lars Klevjer, acting head of Equinor Ventures, commented: "Building on decades of energy innovation, Equinor is participating in several significant hydrogen projects.
"We very much look forward to working with HySiLabs to support their development and bring them to the next phase of its journey”.
Hysilabs president and CEO Corine Dubruel added: "Hydrogen will be a cornerstone of the energy transition – whether for long term seasonal energy storage, or industrial fuel use.
"HySiLabs has developed a unique solution that can overcome the challenges of hydrogen transportation and storage.”