The company Ohmium says it has received investments of $250 million to increase production of machines that make hydrogen for energy.
Ohmium is a company based in the state of Nevada with offices in California’s Silicon Valley and India. It makes machines called electrolyzers which separate water into hydrogen and oxygen.
Climate activists say hydrogen is a clean fuel for energy and can possibly be used in place of fossil fuels such as coal, oil or gas.
Daryl Wilson is head of the Hydrogen Council, a group of business leaders who support hydrogen that is based in Brussels, Belgium. Wilson said just four or five years ago, a company working on producing hydrogen from water would not have been able to raise several hundred million dollars. But now there’s fast growth and demand for it, he said.
Mark Viehman is a hydrogen and clean fuels expert at the Paris-based consulting business Capgemini. He said its recent research found that 64 percent of energy and utility companies plan to put money into low-carbon hydrogen efforts by 2030.
Arne Ballantine is the head of Ohmium. He said the company will use the $250 million to improve its factory in India, continue research in California, and hire more workers. The company currently has about 400 workers.
Ballantine said he plans to make enough electrolyzers each year to produce enough hydrogen to supply two gigawatts of electricity. He said that would provide power for a few steel or fertilizer factories.
Countries and businesses say they want to cut the release of carbon dioxide from manufacturing by using hydrogen. The U.S., European Union, Canada and India are offering tax credits and other incentives for companies to produce clean, or green, hydrogen.
An electrolyzer produces clean hydrogen if it gets electricity from renewable energy, such as wind and solar power. The International Energy Agency says less than one percent of hydrogen produced around the world currently comes from renewable energy.
Electrolyzers use huge amounts of electricity. Most of them need fossil fuels to operate. Emily Kent of the Clean Air Task Force, a nonprofit group based in Boston, said it will take a large increase in electricity created without fossil fuels to get enough clean hydrogen.
However, most hydrogen today comes from natural gas, a fossil fuel. Some U.S. power producers plan to use Ohmium’s Lotus electrolyzer as a partial substitute for natural gas. Ohmium is also working with Spanish and Indian companies on energy projects.
Each electrolyzer can produce up to 45 metric tons of hydrogen per year. The device costs several hundred thousand dollars. Ohmium said each is about two-and-a-half meters high by one-and-a-half wide and almost two meters long. The company said the devices can fit together and be placed in different positions, in case more than one is needed.
I’m Andrew Smith.
Jennifer McDermott wrote this story for The Associated Press. Andrew Smith adapted it for VOA Learning English.
Words in This Story
utility company –n. a company that provides a necessary service to the public such as water, electricity or gas
hire –v. to give someone a job
incentive –n. something that causes a person or group to want to do something
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