Jericho Energy Ventures Co-Leads USD$1.5 million Investment Into Hydrogen Catalyst Discovery Platform

By July 22, 2021 5   min read  (860 words)

July 22, 2021 |

Fuel Cells Works, Jericho Energy Ventures' : Hydrogen Technologies Ideally Positioned to Help Canada's Industrial and Commercial Sectors Following 25% Carbon Tax Hike
  • H2U has developed a high throughput screening process for discovering electrocatalysts
  • Millions of elemental compositions screened and tested daily for their catalytic value
  • Low-cost catalysts enable the Hydrogen Economy
  • H2U to develop its own proprietary electrolyser technology

NEWTOWN, PA and VANCOUVER, BC / Jericho Energy Ventures (TSXV:JEV)(Frankfurt:JLM0)(OTC PINK:JROOF) (“Jericho” or “JEV” or the “Company”) is pleased to announce it has led a Series A financing for H2U Technologies, Inc. (“H2U”), a Company focused on developing its proprietary ultrahigh throughput, AI-driven, electrocatalyst discovery process for electrolyser and fuel cell applications.

Jericho’s USD$1.5 million Co-Lead investment is joined by Dolby Family Ventures, Hess Corporation (NYSE: HES) and Motus Ventures – with a total Series A raise of approximately USD$7 million. Each of the Co-Leads, including Jericho, will have board representation. The Board of H2U will also be joined by independent director, Tom Werner, former CEO (2003-2021) and current Chairman of SunPower (NASDAQ: SPWR).

H2U intends to use this funding to support the start-up and development of its proprietary electrocatalyst discovery process and machinery. H2U will also develop its own PEM electrolyser technology utilizing its proprietary catalysts, breakthrough sub-component innovations and manufacturing processes.

H2U’s low-cost electrolyser is being developed in partnership with Southern California Gas Co. (“SoCalGas”) – the cost target of which is half that of current PEM electrolysers. SoCalGas, who recently announced its commitment to reach Net Zero carbon emissions in its operations and delivery by 2045, will conduct demonstration testing of the new low-cost electrolyser, as well as validation testing on the performance of new non-precious metal catalysts, materials used in small quantities to initiate and accelerate the chemical process of splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen.

Disruptive Solution and Background

H2U is a commercialization of technology, exclusively licensed to H2U by Caltech, developed under a $122 million Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (“JCAP”) program established by the Department of Energy and a group of universities including the California Institute of Technology, University of California, Berkley, Stanford University, UC Irvine, and UC San Diego. The mission of JCAP was to find cost-effective methods to produce fuels using only sunlight, water, and CO2. This program produced over 30 patents to which H2U has the exclusive worldwide IP-rights.

H2U’s disruptive solution to replace precious metal catalysts with cheap, stable, and effective electrocatalysts will be a required step in the adoption of green hydrogen, globally. The resulting electrocatalyst discovery pipeline is an unprecedented, proprietary, end-to-end, ultra-high throughput data-driven process focused on the discovery of new catalysts for hydrogen electrolysis, fuel cells and batteries. The process is capable of preparing, characterizing, and quantifying the catalytic activity of over 1 million compositions per day, which is orders of magnitude beyond the current state-of-the-art. Critically, the Company has already developed, lab tested and has patents pending on two potential catalysts that will be the focal point of commercialization efforts in the near-term.

H2U will initially be led by some of the leading scientists in the field of photo-and-electrocatalysis, many of whom led and directed the JCAP program at the California Institute of Technology including H2U’s Chief Scientific Advisor, Dr. Nathan Lewis (Scientific Director, Principal Investigator for JCAP and Professor of Chemistry at Caltech).

Ryan Breen, Head of Corporate Strategy at JEV, states, “Critical to any pathway towards Net Zero targets will be the low-cost, efficient and stable electrocatalysts developed by H2U for the rapidly growing Hydrogen Economy. H2U’s catalyst discovery process is a distinct advantage over traditional catalyst companies looking to serve the hydrogen market. Driving down the cost of green hydrogen is of vital importance to its adoption and JEV seeks to play a market-leading role in that pursuit. Moreover, we are thrilled to be joined by like-minded investors in recognizing the value of H2U’s proprietary technology and world-class Caltech team.”

Hydrogen Generation and Utilization: Electrolysers, Fuel Cells and Catalysts

The market to produce and utilize green hydrogen as a fuel, feedstock and means of energy storage is slated to reach a total addressable market size of $2.5 trillion per annum by 2050. Today, electrolysers and fuel cells rely on expensive and supply-constrained precious metals for electrocatalysts, particularly, platinum and iridium whose prices have risen 25% and 240%, respectively over the last twelve months.

According to the Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), required electrolyser capacity needs to reach 270GW and 1700GW by 2030 and 2050 respectively to meet global decarbonization targets. The current global pipeline is 3GW. The growth prospects of green hydrogen and its electrolysis production process will produce an inevitable supply pull on currently utilized precious metal catalysts. In fact, the Henry Royce Institute (UK) identified the reduction of precious metals in PEM electrolyser and fuel cells as one of its top five priorities for materials research enabling the hydrogen economy.

Jericho’s Hydrogen Platform

Jericho Energy Ventures investment in H2U follows on its hydrogen-based boiler acquisition of HTI earlier in 2021. JEV’s hydrogen investment platform offers shareholders full spectrum exposure to critical parts enabling the hydrogen economy.

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