Power To Hydrogen Partners with NASA and Shell Energy
Power to Hydrogen Innovating Hydrogen Energy
Hydrogen is the most common element in the universe. Hydrogen makes the sun burn bright and powers rocket ships. Hydrogen fuel is also eco-friendly, but there is a catch. Hydrogen doesn’t exist in nature in its pure form. Hydrogen must be extracted from other compounds to use this energy for vehicle fuel or to power infrastructure. The process is costly and does have an impact on the environment.
Power to Hydrogen (P2H2) is tackling the challenge head-on. A spinout from Rev1 portfolio company pH Matter, Power to Hydrogen is developing a revolutionary device that efficiently and cost-effectively generates hydrogen and stores energy.
“Hydrogen is abundant and incredibly light, but you need a lot of it to do anything,” said Paul Matter, Co-Founder and CTO of Power to Hydrogen. “Equipment to make hydrogen from renewables often sits idle because the equipment is only operated when there is excess wind or sun. Our Clean Energy Bridge is a reversible fuel cell, which means it can work in two directions–one as an electrolyzer, splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen, and then in the opposite direction by taking stored hydrogen gas and turning it into power.”
NASA and Shell Energy Partner with P2H2 on Prototype
P2H2’s technology improves the affordability and access to hydrogen fuel as an energy source and is based on technology developed for U.S. Department of Energy. The firm is building its prototype with a $3.4 million NASA grant, technical support from Shell Energy, and additional outside investment.
“NASA wants to use our technology for energy storage on the moon,” Matter said, “and Shell is the biggest operator of hydrogen filling stations in the United States.”
Shell seeks to be a leader in hydrogen energy on multiple fronts, from hydrogen-powered vehicles to participating in the production and distribution of hydrogen as a replacement for fossil fuels. NASA’s goal is for P2H2’s device to produce and store hydrogen while the sun is shining on the moon and then use that stored hydrogen for energy when the moon is dark.
Unique Technology Targets Multiple Markets
P2H2’s technology offers efficiency and affordability to operators of fuel cell vehicles, including buses, trucks, trains, lift trucks and marine vehicles. Fuel cells have replenishable amounts of energy and are smaller and lighter than batteries.
Batteries for long-haul trucks, for example, can make up a third of the vehicle weight. “Diesel engines take up about 10 percent of the weight,” Matter said. “A fuel cell would be about equivalent to diesel engines.”
In addition to logistics and NASA’s lunar energy needs, additional markets for P2H2’s Clean Energy Bridge technology include renewably powered microgrids and large-scale solar and wind installations. P2H2 provides on-site, generation of high-pressure hydrogen, short-duration high-output power to help operators manage peak demand, and low-cost, long-duration energy storage for backup power. The company has received multiple agreements to install the first commercial versions of the system with partners in utilities, public transportation, personal home generation, and more.
“There are many challenges to developing technology,” said Matter. “many companies are looking for ways to generate hydrogen at a lower cost. We have a unique architecture that is patented and allows us to do things that others cannot. We are using those advantages to produce higher pressure hydrogen and reversibility, taking the stored gas and turning it into power.”