Fusion Fuel Green ($56M to develop micro PEM electrolyzers for on site producing green hydrogen using concentrated solar energy)

Fusion Fuel Green, an Irish cleantech company founded in 2017, develops a micro PEM-based electrolyzer called the HEVO, which uses solar energy to create hydrogen with zero carbon emissions. Fusion Fuel Green produces hydrogen at highly competitive costs using renewable energy. The company aims to contribute to sustainable and affordable clean energy solutions.

Challenges: hydrogen fuel

The development of the global economy and the growth of population demand for more energy. Petroleum, coal, and natural gas are the primary sources of energy today. However, due to the non-renewability and limited reserves of fossil fuels, the rising energy demand results in energy crises, environmental pollution, and global warming. Hydrogen (H₂) is a “simple solution” to address the world’s energy problems and needs.

Electrolysis of water is a mature technology for producing pure hydrogen. However, electrolyzers demand a large amount of electric energy. Today, an increasing number of electrolyzers use inexpensive solar cells that convert sunlight into electricity to produce hydrogen without emitting carbon dioxide (CO₂). The type of hydrogen is referred to as “green hydrogen”. Due to the dual limitations of solar cell conversion efficiency and electrolysis efficiency, as well as the poor matching of the maximum power points of the two, the solar cell hydrogen generation efficiency is relatively low. This hinders industrialization progress.

Fusion Fuel Green Technology

Fusion Fuel Green has developed a hydrogen generation device composed of micro PEM electrolyzers (HEVO) coupled directly with highly efficient, multiple-junction solar cells. The device collects and concentrates sunlight, converts concentrated sunlight into both electricity by the solar cell and thermal energy harvested by a heat exchanger. Thereby, the device utilizes the electric and thermal energy to produce green hydrogen at a cost-competitive price.

Fusion Fuel Green hydrogen

The figure below depicts the structure of the hydrogen generation device.

Fusion Fuel's HEVO with PEM electrolyzer directly coupled with a photovoltaic cell (ref. AU2020434253A1).
Fusion Fuel Green’s HEVO with PEM electrolyzer directly coupled with a photovoltaic cell (ref. AU2020434253A1).

Fresnel lens collects and concentrates sunlight by more than 200 times. Using a solar concentrator, the concentrated sunlight is further concentrated. The photovoltaic cell (solar cell) converts concentrated sunlight into electricity to power the PEM electrolyzer for the production of hydrogen and oxygen gas. The “waste” concentrated sunlight (not absorbed by the solar cell) is absorbed by a heat exchanger made of  aluminum, copper or copper alloy. The heat exchanger transfers heat to pure water circulating in the electrolyzer, thereby increasing the electrolysis efficiency.

To achieve high water electrolysis efficiency, the photovoltaic cell is a highly-efficient multiple junction device, such as a triple junction structure of InGaP/InGaAs/Ge or other similar high-efficiency solar cells.

The micro electrolyzer is equipped with a proton exchange membrane (PEM) made of Nafion® or polymers. Each side of the PEM is coated with several porous anode or cathode catalyst layers arranged side-by-side. Each cathode or anode catalyst layer faces and electrically contacts their respective monopolar cathode or anode plate. These monopolar cathode or anode plates are arranged side-by-side so that they are all physically separated from each other. Thus, each electrochemical cell is connected in series to the next and they share the same PEM, as illustrated in the circuit diagram below.

Fusion Fuel's HEVO with electrochemical cells in series connection in the micro PEM electrolyzer (ref. AU2020434253A1).
Fusion Fuel Green’s HEVO with micro PEM electrolyzer connected in series (ref. AU2020434253A1).

Monopolar anode plate is typically made of titanium (Ti) or a titanium alloy coated with a thin film of platinum (Pt) or a platinum alloy, whereas the monopolar cathode plate is typically made of a stainless-steel alloy coated with a thin film of gold (Au). They have several holes arranged on their main surface and act as a combination of a gas diffusion layer and a current collector.  

The floating flow guide plates, which are typically made of a polymer or any other suitable rigid material that is not electrically conductive, have several open channels on their main surface that faces the monopolar anode or cathode plats, respectively. When assembled, the floating flow guide plates press against the monopolar plates to provide flow paths of water and gas bubbles.

The elastic compression elements housed in the casings provide the necessary contact force to allow close contact between the monopolar plate and their individualized catalyst-coated zones so that the electrical contact resistance between them can be kept to a minimum, thereby lowering the electrolysis reaction’s operating voltage.

Fusion Fuel Green Patent

  • PT116152A DEVICE WITH DIRECT COUPLING FOR GENERATION OF HYDROGEN FROM CONCENTRATED SUNLIGHT
  • AU2020434253A1 Direct coupling device for generating hydrogen from concentrated sunlight
  • CA3174514A1 Direct coupling device for generating hydrogen from concentrated sunlight
  • WO2021181149A1 Direct coupling device for generating hydrogen from concentrated sunlight
  • IL295882A Direct coupling device for generating hydrogen from concentrated sunlight
  • WO2022079485A1 Floating flow-guide plate for electrochemical cells

Fusion Fuel Green Products

The HEVO-Solar is Fusion Fuel Green’s first commercially available hydrogen generator. It consists of 144 HEVOs mounted to a specially-designed concentrated photovoltaic solar tracker, which concentrates solar radiation 1,400x onto a series of III-V multijunction solar cells, resulting in solar-to-electric conversion efficiency over 30%, with the balance given off as thermal energy.

The HEVO-Chain is based on HEVO architecture, which enables the system to operate at higher efficiency – roughly 49 kWh/kg hydrogen – while avoiding the efficiency losses caused by conventional electrolyzer stack designs. Each HEVO-Chain hydrogen unit consists of 16 interconnected HEVO micro-electrolyzers with a total electrolysis capacity of 11.2 kW. Each unit can produce 2 tons per year (5.6 kg of hydrogen per day) at a pressure of 4 bar.

Fusion Fuel Green Funding

Fusion Fuel Green has raised a total of $56.2M in funding over 3 rounds:

Their latest funding was raised on Mar 20, 2023 from a Grant round.

Fusion Fuel Green Stock

Fusion Fuel Green is registered under the ticker NASDAQ:HTOO.

Fusion Fuel Green Investors

Fusion Fuel is funded by 2 investors:

European Commission and Portugal´s Recovery and Resilience Plan are the most recent investors.

Fusion Fuel Green CEO

André Antunes is CEO.

Fusion Fuel Green Board Member and Advisor

Alla Jezmir, Frederico Figueira de Chaves, and Jaime Silva are board members.

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