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Bill Gates-Backed Startup Plans Plant for Machine Key to Hydrogen Future

(Bloomberg) —

Startup Electric Hydrogen Co. plans to open its first factory for making electrolyzers — the machines at the heart of a future green hydrogen economy – in Massachusetts. It’s the latest in a wave of clean-tech manufacturing projects announced across the US.

The company, backed by Bill Gates’s Breakthrough Energy Ventures, has signed a lease for a partially built facility in Devens, located northwest of Boston, to house the factory. The plant will be a $90 million private investment and is expected to be commissioned late this year. Electric Hydrogen aims to begin shipping electrolyzers in mid-2024.

Electrolyzers use electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. When powered by renewable energy, they can produce hydrogen without emitting greenhouse gases, a fuel known as “green” hydrogen. Electric Hydrogen will make large-scale electrolyzers for customers that want to produce hydrogen en masse.

Read More: A Green Hydrogen Economy Depends on This Little-Known Machine

Governments worldwide are betting that green hydrogen will play a key role in cutting emissions in industries, such as cement manufacturing and steelmaking, that rely on carbon-intensive fuels and can’t be easily switched to running on electricity. The vast majority of hydrogen produced today is stripped from natural gas in a process that emits carbon dioxide, but that is expected to change. 

Last year’s federal Inflation Reduction Act has triggered a surge in clean-energy manufacturing projects planned across the US. Electric Hydrogen co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Raffi Garabedian said that while his company isn’t receiving any federal loans or grants for its plant, the IRA’s $3 per kilogram tax credit for green hydrogen is catalyzing interest in ramping up production. 

“For us, it’s all about the market creation that the IRA has stimulated,” he said in an interview. “We’re building ahead of the market, anticipating that the market is going to be real.”

© 2023 Bloomberg L.P.


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