Revolutionising Zero Emissions: Sustainable and Scalable Green Hydrogen Production
This article was first published on Startup SG on 4 April 2023
Revolutionising Zero Emissions; Sustainable and Scalable Green Hydrogen Production
SunGreenH2 is transforming green hydrogen production by building the world’s highest performance electrolysers using a platform technology to incorporate proprietary advanced nanostructured materials into electrolyser components. The company manufactures electrolysers made with its materials to double production and decrease energy consumption with significant reduction of the use of expensive platinum group metals.
Founded by Tulika Raj and Dr. Saeid Masudy Panah, SunGreenH2 takes on a sustainable approach to create core components for electrolyser cells, stacks and systems, enabling its customers to produce affordable green hydrogen. The company has combined cutting-edge research in electrochemistry and nanotechnology to provide a solution through high-efficiency, low-cost green hydrogen production.
In this article, we speak with EntrePass holder, Tulika Raj, one of the Co-Founders of SunGreenH2, to get a glimpse into her startup journey in Singapore, and how SunGreenH2 has revolutionised the clean energy sector.
1. Tell us more about yourself and the origins of SunGreenH2. How did you come up with the idea?
My partner, Saeid, and I co-founded SunGreenH2 in 2020. With a background in the energy business and training as an electrical engineer, I started my career in the modern oil and gas sector. Even as a young engineer, I was very passionate about the sustainability pivoted early towards clean energy. In 2018, I worked for Keppel Corporation in Singapore and while I was working on low carbon infrastructure there, I was increasingly seeing an untapped market opportunity for low cost and large scale green hydrogen production. It was only after I met my co-founder, Dr. Saeid Masudy Panah, that we crystallised the idea to bring to market a novel platform to impact the entire electrolyser industry by doubling hydrogen production yet reducing energy and space consumption without using any expensive and rare materials. Hence, SunGreenH2 was born as we wanted to work towards a truly sustainable and scalable decarbonisation solution, a futuristic concept of the original photo-electrodes we had ideated. That was the beginning of SunGreenH2.
2. What attracted you to set up SunGreenH2 in Singapore? How has your journey in Singapore’s Startup ecosystem been like since day one?
Singapore has a strong ecosystem, robust governmental structure and active startup community that supports the growth of budding startups locally. There are also plenty of labs and testing opportunities in Singapore, making it well catered for innovation.
In the beginning, Saeid and I joined the SGInnovate-backed Entrepreneur First Accelerator programme and received pre-seed investment which gave us the impetus for how and where to start. During the programme, we received a lot of support in the early stages of our prototyping especially through the support of A*STAR Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE). Through numerous rounds of feedback and iteration during the pandemic, we came up with our first working prototype in 2021 which is still running to date at the A*STAR IMRE facility.
Due to Singapore’s strategic location as a strong research and innovation hub, SunGreenH2 is currently headquartered in Singapore and co-located with A*STAR IMRE’s Research and Development (R&D) lab, supplemented with a pilot production facility currently located in Melbourne, Australia. Our idea of having market presence in both Singapore and Australia allows us to work on our research in Singapore while we create a technological solution that can serve the global market. This keeps uson track towards creating a world-efficient product that meets the demand of the global market.
3. Sustainability and urban solutions have been on the rise and on the minds of many individuals and investors. What role does SungreenH2 play in this global movement and how has the company transformed the industry?
Currently, the most common way of hydrogen production is through thermochemical processes, which uses heat and chemical reactions to release hydrogen from organic materials, such as fossil fuels. This method of producing hydrogen is carbon dioxide intensive, making it unsustainable and damaging to the environment. SunGreenH2 brings a nanotech-level advancement to produce green hydrogen, and this is done through supercharging electrolysis, allowing more hydrogen to be made directly from water. By reducing energy consumption and dependence on critical metals, SunGreenH2 is unlocking a sustainable way for the electrolyser industry to scale.
4. SungreenH2 has a vision to make zero carbon, low-cost green hydrogen available globally at scale. What progress has SungreenH2 made in achieving this?
In year 2022, we raised US$3.5 million in a seed funding round led by deep tech-focused Venture Capitalist firm, SGInnovate. We were also part of the Shell StartUp Engine Singapore accelerator programme where we partnered with Keppel Gas Technology Development and the EcoLabs Centre of Innovation for Energy and received a grant from the Energy Market Authority of Singapore which helped us accelerate our journey. This is done through making affordable green hydrogen production from electrolysis a reality, and unlocking a zero-carbon energy source globally, at scale, and at low cost. In 2023, we will also be launching our first commercial product in Hamburg, Germany. Regarding this product development milestone, we will be working with ZAL, the German Aerospace Research Institute in Hamburg, Germany, on a product demonstration in May 2023.
5. What are SungreenH2’s plans for 2023?
In 2023, we are scouting for suitable locations within the Asia Pacific, Europe and US regions that can enable us to create a mass manufacturing facility. We intend to raise a further US$15 million in our Series A funding round in Q2 2023, which will go towards scaling production and capability, expansion to new markets and further research and developments in Singapore.
6. What advice would you give like-minded individuals interested to venture into the sustainability or similar space?
“Take the plunge if you feel strongly enough about an idea or business plan. One must have the resilience and passion to persist in good and bad days.”
Starting a company is a roller coaster ride, especially during the initial days of venture building and scaling the business. A startup founder will have both good and bad days while on this ride. Therefore, to be a founder, one must have resilience and passion, along with a sound business plan right from the beginning, so one knows exactly what the clear goal is and can stay focused while working towards the end goal.
Find out how Startup SG can support you to kickstart your entrepreneur journey in Singapore here.