- French startup is developing an innovative model for safe transportation and storage of hydrogen.
- EDP Ventures participated in international Series A funding round, led by Equinor Ventures, with €2 million.
It is EDP first investment in a startup that works with hydrogen: in a Series A funding round completed at the end of the month, EDP Ventures invested two million euros in HySiLabs, a company based in France that is developing a simpler and more economical method for the safe transportation and storage of hydrogen.
In addition to EDP Ventures, the funding operation led by Equinor Ventures included the European Innovation Council Fund and PLD Automobile, as well as the support from investors Kreaxi, Région Sud Investissement and CAAP Création - in total, this Series A round added up to a total value of €13 million. The funding now achieved will support the development of HySiLabs' patented technology, which aims to address the challenges of hydrogen transport and storage.
"EDP believes that renewable hydrogen will be a key enabler for the energy transition and aims to be an active agent in its development on a global scale," explains Luís Manuel, board member of EDP Innovation, of which EDP Ventures is part. "While focusing on its production, we see Hysilabs´ technology as an innovative booster for the creation of a renewable hydrogen market worldwide."
The innovation created by this startup lies in the unique process created to lock hydrogen molecules into a silica-based liquid carrier, from which it can then be released on demand. Early tests have shown very positive results, demonstrating that the transport is stable, and that hydrogen can be safely stored in infrastructure with the right pressure and temperature conditions.
In this model, the molecule requires energy to lock hydrogen in the carrier, but none to release it, which is a significant difference to current solutions. In a future where hydrogen production is expected to be shipped to power centres, this ability to release hydrogen without an energy cost offers huge potential.
"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," comments Corine Dubruel, President and CEO of Hysilabs. “This investment from some of the leading names in the European energy space is a testament to the company’s technology breakthroughs and confidence in our experienced team”.
For Lars Klevjer, acting director of Equinor Ventures, "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."
Based in Aix-en-Provence in France, HySiLabs was founded in 2015 by Pierre-Emmanuel Casanova (CBO) and Vincent Lôme (CSO). The startup currently has several other industrial pilot projects underway, such as H2Gate with the Port of Amsterdam (industrial-scale hydrogen storage) and QualifHY with Helion Hydrogen Power (integration of HySiLabs solution with fuel cells). HySiLabs also recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Vinci Geostock to test underground hydrogen storage. In 2022, the young company was selected in the French Tech Green20 (development program for the 20 most promising French startups in the field of green technology). The €13 million Series A will be completed with additional capital in a second closing planned for February this year.