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HydGene Renewables backed for hydrogen from biomass

Manufacturing News

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) has backed HydGene Renewables which has developed an alternative green hydrogen solution that turns biomass into hydrogen in a process that is both renewable and carbon negative.

The HydGene technique uses novel biocatalysts to convert the sugars derived from organic waste, including agricultural waste, into valuable products like hydrogen.

The process takes place in HydGene-designed modular plants, enabling localised green hydrogen production in rural and remote areas, where the cost of transporting hydrogen can be high.

Backed by a $2 million investment from the CEFC via the CEFC Clean Energy Innovation Fund, a HydGene $6 million seed raise also attracted $2.5 million from lead investor Agronomics, a specialist UK investor.

HydGene will draw on the additional capital to establish a pilot plant, expand its team and conduct further research.

HydGene joins Hysata and Ark Energy in the CEFC hydrogen portfolio, with further growth expected via the new Hydrogen Headstart programme announced in the recent Federal Budget.

HydGene is a Macquarie University spinout, formed after receiving funding as one of 16 research projects included in an Australian Renewable Energy Agency 2018 programme to propel innovation in renewable energy.

The CEFC investment is managed by specialist climate-tech venture capital manager Virescent Ventures.

HydGene has engineered bacteria to produce an innovative biocatalyst, converting sugars derived from biomass to hydrogen gas.

HydGene CEO and co-founder Dr Louise Brown said: “With our specialised biocatalyst, we can efficiently upcycle waste biomass sources to produce green molecules under favourable conditions.

“Our innovative technology not only paves the way for the growth and adoption of decentralised manufacturing hubs, but also plays a crucial role in the global transition to an affordable, green hydrogen economy.

“We remain confident in the ability of our new technology to accelerate the global drive towards a net-zero economy while also opening up market opportunities for green chemical manufacturing.”

CEFC CEO Ian Learmonth said: “The CEFC is pleased to be backing the exciting and innovative technology that HydGene is developing.

“This technology can be developed alongside electrolytic hydrogen to grow Australia’s green hydrogen industry as a critical factor in our net zero emissions economy of the future.”

The Hydrogen Headstart program, announced in the recent Federal Budget, will provide revenue support for investment in renewable hydrogen production and bridge the early commercial gap for early hydrogen projects.

The CEFC will provide complementary equity and debt financing for Hydrogen Headstart projects via the existing CEFC Advancing Hydrogen Fund.

Image: HydGene Renewables

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