Cemex Ventures Increases Stake In HiiROC, A Revolutionary Hydrogen Production Startup

Cemex Ventures Increases Stake In HiiROC, Revolutionary Hydrogen Production Startup - Carbon Herald
Credit: Cemex Ventures

Cemex Ventures – the corporate venture capital (CVC) firm for Cemex, announced an investment in a novel and high-potential hydrogen production technology. The CVC has increased its stake in HiiROC – a leading startup with a novel proprietary process for low-cost and zero emission hydrogen production. 

HiiROC is a startup founded in 2019 that has developed a Thermal Plasma Electrolysis process. The process, linked to methane pyrolysis, involves the use of methane, flare gas, biomethane or natural gas as a feedstock to produce hydrogen and black carbon (solid form of carbon) as a by-product and does not emit CO2 in the process. 

Relevant: New Discovery Finds More Efficient Water Electrolysis Process To Produce Hydrogen

The process uses an electrical field in its patented plasma torches to split apart the hydrocarbons and operates at a higher pressure than its competitors. The company has also overcome some issues in the industry related to carbon condensation and operates a continuous flow process rather than a batch process. 

What is groundbreaking about the efficiency of the technology is that the process uses 4-5 times less energy than water electrolysis to produce the same amount of hydrogen. Water electrolysis uses around 50 kWh of energy to produce 1 kg of hydrogen. 1 kg of hydrogen when electrified gives out 33 kWh of energy which is why re-electrification of hydrogen is currently an inefficient process. 

HiiROC technology benefits. Credit: HiiROC website

According to the company, its process uses 10 -12 kWh of energy to produce 1 kg of hydrogen which means the production process makes re-electrification of hydrogen possible. The technology could be unlocking the high potential of hydrogen to displace fossil fuels in energy generation and therefore unveil limitless opportunities ahead. 

Additionally, HiiROC’s production units are modular, scalable, use no water, and the by-product from the process – carbon black could become an additional area of revenue opportunity. 

Cemex Ventures has initially invested in the breakthrough startup in 2022 and is planning large-scale deployment of HiiROC’s thermal plasma technology to help decarbonize its operations. It plans to use the hydrogen produced by HiiROC to reduce fossil fuel consumption in its cement plants.

Relevant: New Way Of Producing Hydrogen Deemed As True “Game-Changer”

The company plans to initially increase the hydrogen injection capacity at its cement plant in Rugby, United Kingdom and expects to eventually deploy HiiROC’s technology gradually across EMEA and other regional operations.

“As a CVC, we don’t look simply at the financial returns of our investments, but also at how we can strategically work together with startups in order to execute Cemex’s strategic objectives. With our increased stake in HiiROC, we are trying to foster the construction industry revolution by supporting startups with solutions that significantly make construction more sustainable, efficient, agile, and innovative, while also helping Cemex achieve its climate action objectives.

Cemex is currently in conversations with HiiROC to launch a large-scale deployment at our cement plant in Rugby, United Kingdom in 2024. The purpose of this collaboration is to increase our hydrogen injection capacity as an alternative energy source and to scale back on the use of fossil fuels, decreasing the amount of CO2 emitted from Cemex’s operations,” commented for Carbon Herald Alfredo Carrato, Investment and Open Innovation Advisor at Cemex Venture regarding HiiROC’s future deployment.

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