The article below was published on H2 View (link) on Aug 31, 2023.
Founded in 2020, Californian-based start-up EVōLOH set out to develop electrolyser and manufacturing technology that could change the green hydrogen production landscape.
Having secured funding from firms such as Breakthrough Energy, Collaborative fund and more, the company is racing to meet scale, with plans to establish a 3.7GW factory in the US.
H2 View sat down with the EVōLOH’s founder and CEO, Dr. Jimmy Rojas, to learn more about the company, its plans and aspirations.
Thanks for taking the time to speak to H2 View. To kick things off, can you tell our readers a little about the company, its origins and activities?
I founded EVōLOH in April 2020 after screening hydrogen production solutions for renown cleantech venture capital firms. With a large amount of funding from firms like Breakthrough Energy, Collaborative Fund, and others, EVōLOH has been developing its electrolyser and manufacturing technology over the last three years and is now completing a major equity fundraising.
You describe your electrolyser technology as ‘breakthrough’. What can you tell us about the technology? What sets it apart from other players?
At EVōLOH, we solved the materials problem by selecting a low temperature, alkaline chemistry. We solved the size problem by adapting best practices for high power density from the fuel cell industry. We solved the system complexity problem with a water-only operational architecture. Finally, we solved the scale problem by adapting high-speed manufacturing techniques from adjacent industries to electrolyser cell and stack production.
EVōLOH’s stacks have a per-unit capacity relevant to the utility-scale green hydrogen industry yet can be installed by a single mechanic using a standard forklift. Our stacks can be made at unprecedented speed and cost from domestically supplied materials which are easily recycled at end of life.
Although AEM electrolyser technology has been the focus of a lot of industry excitement, there are concerns over the membrane durability. How is EVōLOH getting around that?
Advanced alkaline electrolysis technology (AEM) is evolving very quickly. Many innovative organisations are working on solving the membrane problem and EVōLOH has created a membrane agnostic design and supply chain strategy to ensure access to the best technology over time.
We are working with multiple developers, both large and small, to specify, evaluate, and optimise the membrane and ionomer to meet the needs of our customers, including lifetime. Our stack is essentially a platform, enabling quick, reliable deployment of the best available anion exchange technologies.
In less than 18 months, with support from Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy, we have achieved stack operation with near-zero performance decay over industrially relevant timescales. The rate of progress in this area of the technology gives us high confidence that our products will exceed the cost of ownership expectations of our utility-scale customers.
In February, EVōLOH announced plans to build a 3.75GW electrolyser stack plant in Massachusetts. How big of an investment is the company making here?
To make hydrogen relevant to the Net Zero problem, approximately 600 million tonnes per year of green hydrogen is required; this equates to as many as 100, 15 GW per year stack factories running by 2050. While 3.75GW per year seems like a lot today, it is a drop in the bucket for addressing the urgent need to decarbonise these hard-to-abate industries.
Publicly announced electrolyser factories typically target less than 1.5 GW per year, requiring hundreds of thousands of square feet of high bay space and with capital costs of over 100 million dollars. We realised early on that to achieve the 2050 goals these metrics were way off the mark.
Consequently, we designed our factory to produce electrolyser stacks in brownfield facilities using one fifth of this floor space and capital.
When and where can we expect to see EVōLOH’s electrolysers out in the field?
Our first deployments will be for demonstration projects: a MW-scale stack starting up in 2024, and after that a multi-MW stack in 2025. Several partners are looking at building or modifying demo facilities to host the larger stacks, which is no easy task, but we believe the timeline is doable.