January 19, 2022

Bill Gates Backs Technion Hydrogen Energy Startup

Technion-born H2Pro has taken a major step towards commercializing its innovative technology in hydrogen energy — thanks to a boost from philanthropist-climate change guru Bill Gates. His Breakthrough Energy Ventures completed a $22 million investment round into the startup, which is developing a more efficient way to make clean hydrogen fuel from electricity.

Hydrogen can be stored for years, transported easily, and used to generate heat (by burning) or electricity (in fuel cells). When it is produced through clean methods of electrolysis, the only waste product is pure water, making hydrogen gas one of the most sought-after alternatives to fossil fuels.

Speaking at a virtual conference in March, Mr. Gates said that cheap, environmentally friendly hydrogen would be a “huge deal” in transitioning from fossil fuels, providing industry can rein in costs. H2Pro aims to do just that.

Professors Gideon Grader and Avner Rothschild and Dr. Hen Dotan of the Grand Technion Energy Program founded H2Pro in 2019 to bring to market their pioneering research in water-splitting to produce hydrogen fuel cells. H2Pro’s E-TAC (electrochemical-thermally activated chemical) system uses electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen, but unlike traditional methods of electrolysis, produces the gases at separate steps. This innovation is expected to lower the technology’s price about 70% to just $1 per kilo by 2030. And while existing methods lose about 30% of their electrical power during production, H2Pro’s system will be 95% efficient.

H2Pro plans to use the new funding to support further development and to scale-up production. Mr. Gates’ investment group also included billionaire Li Ka-shing, who helped establish the Guangdong Technion Israel Institute of Technology in China, and Japan’s Sumitomo.