No 11. May 2013

More Venture Capital for Hydrexia

Queensland company Hydrexia has received a venture capital investment of $9.25 million from the Southern Cross Renewable Energy Fund and ALIAD, a subsidiary of Air Liquide. The Southern Cross Renewable Energy Fund invested $4.5 million.

Hydrexia has previously received venture capital from GBS Venture Partners.

Hydrexia has developed hydrogen storage technology that can store more hydrogen in less space than traditional storage methods and at low pressure, reducing cost. It can also be used to store renewable energy, allowing the energy to be stored for use during peak times or when renewable energy sources are not available such as when the sun is down.

The minister for Resources and Energy, Gary Gray, said Hydrexia will use the investment to commercialize the technology in existing industrial gas markets, which will provide a commercialization pathway for emerging applications such as hydrogen refueling and renewable energy storage.

"Importantly, the financing has been co-led by Air Liquide, a world leader in gases for industry, health and the environment, which will provide Hydrexia with an opportunity to capture a share of the existing industrial market, and the potential to enter the emerging renewable energy storage markets on a faster, more competitive basis," he said.

Air Liquide's subsidiary ALIAD is dedicated to investments in technology startups.

Hydrexia’s magnesium alloy.

Hydrexia was founded in 2006 and is a spin-off of the University of Queensland. Its effective and reliable hydrogen storage technology uses a new magnesium alloy in a solid form called "hydride".

Although hydrogen storage in the form of magnesium hydrides has been known since 1975, its commercialization was slow until now because of high production costs.

Hydrexia says the new alloy should make possible the production of fixed or mobile stocks at a competitive price compared to existing technologies. The technology is suitable for industrial hydrogen markets such as glass, steel and chemicals.

François Darchis, senior vice-president and a member of the Air Liquide Executive
Committee, said storage in the form of magnesium hydride is a particularly innovative solution. Air Liquide could deliver its customers hydrogen stored in the form of hydride rather than in cylinder or bulk.

Air Liquide is the world leader in gases for industry, health and the environment. It operates in 80 countries with nearly 50,000 employees. This includes over 200 hydrogen production sites of which 40 are large scale. In 2012, it produced 11.5 billion cubic metres of hydrogen.