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Advanced Ionics raises $4.2M for industrial hydrogen

Illustration of a large gas container made out of a roll of $100 bills.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

The Milwaukee-based startup Advanced Ionics has raised $4.2 million in initial financing to accelerate its efforts to supply industrial operations with green hydrogen, Axios reports.

Why it matters: The company's approach, if successful, would provide clean energy to difficult-to-decarbonize industries at a price widely seen as an inflection point for green hydrogen.

The details: The financing was led by Clean Energy Ventures, which focuses on early-stage climate tech, with participation from the Swan Impact Network.

How it works: Advanced Ionics harnesses the waste-heat generated by factories and other industrial plants to reduce the amount of electricity that's required to power electrolyzers to create green hydrogen.

  • Electrolyzers typically demand large amounts of power to create hydrogen fuel — one reason that so-called "green hydrogen" remains especially costly.
  • "We’re the first to come to market with an intermediate temperature electrolyzer technology," Advanced Ionics founder Chad Mason tells Axios.

By the numbers: The levelized cost of green hydrogen production is about $4-$5/kg, Advanced Ionics says, citing figures from IHS Markit.

  • That's about twice as much as creating hydrogen from other sources.
  • Advanced Ionics claims that its process will drop the price below $1/kg.
  • If that figure sounds familiar, it's the goal that the U.S. Department of Energy's "Hydrogen Shot" effort is aiming for.

Yes, but: "You cannot defy thermodynamics, so you always have to decide what you want your trade-offs to be," Mason says.

  • "The trade-off for us is that we are specifically targeting heavy industrial applications, where waste-heat is on site and available for us to use," he says.

What's next: The company hopes to start pilot deployments in 2023.

What they're saying: "If you look around the room, and you see all these things like plastics, oils, glass, metals — a vast majority have used hydrogen in their production process," Mason tells Alan. "If you've decarbonized hydrogen, you really go a long way toward decarbonizing everything around you."

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