About 80 percent of global energy consumption still relies on fossil fuels. In recent years, green hydrogen has come up as an attractive renewable alternative to planet-warming fuels. Now, a startup in Germany wants to make emission-free hydrogen accessible to all.
The company, called Enapter, was co-founded by Vaitea Cowan, who was born on the South Pacific island of New Caledonia, where climate change-induced sea-level rise is a growing threat. “I wanted to replace all the diesel generators in New Caledonia and all the remote areas that didn’t need to rely on dirty diesel,” she said. “But then realizing the potential for green hydrogen to replace fossil fuels, I wanted to be part of this change.”
The company started working on green hydrogen three years ago, and it has now deployed its ion exchange membrane electrolyzers in over 100 projects across 33 countries. Their compact generators, which turn renewable electricity into emission-free hydrogen gas, recently won Prince William’s Earthshot Prize in the ‘Fix Our Climate’ category.
What is green hydrogen?
Hydrogen on Earth is most commonly found in water. Green hydrogen involves using renewable electricity to extract emissions-free gas through a process called electrolysis. Electrolysis essentially separates the hydrogen and oxygen atoms in the water.
Some researchers have criticized green hydrogen for its low efficiency and high cost. Enapter claims that it’s AEM Electrolyser solves these issues and provides a quick and easy way to produce clean energy, even at home.
Half of the water used to flush a toilet can power a home for days
According to the company, their technology can power a home for several days with just half of the water used for flushing a toilet once. That’s about 2.4 liters of water to generate enough hydrogen for a couple’s home for several days, reports euronews.
The exact number of days, however, depends on the energy storage capacity available on-site. This amount of water is about eight times less than the water consumption of a dishwasher (20 liters).
Enapter expects to start mass production in 2023, promising a cost-effective alternative to dirty fossil fuels. “Green solutions will only be adopted if they are the most economically attractive. And our mission is to make green hydrogen accessible and affordable for everyone,” said Cowan.