Investing in the Future of Green Hydrogen: Announcing Zinc’s Pre-Seed Investment in Clyde Hydrogen Systems


We are excited to be leading a pre-seed round that brings together more than £1m in equity and grant funding into Clyde Hydrogen Systems. This investment into Clyde, an innovative electrolyser startup spinning out of the University of Glasgow, will propel the team on its mission to revolutionise the hydrogen economy.

So what is the hydrogen economy, and why are we so excited about this opportunity to partner with Clyde on this journey?

Addressing the challenges of the evolving hydrogen economy

Hydrogen is useful for all sorts of industrial applications and is vital for the climate transition, but its propensity to combust makes it difficult to produce, store and handle.

There are many existing uses of hydrogen – the world produces around 95 megatonnes of hydrogen per annum, and ammonia fertiliser, produced from hydrogen, is necessary for feeding a large proportion of the world’s population. Today, most of this hydrogen is produced from fossil fuels using a process called Steam Methane Reforming (SMR), which releases greenhouse gases.

To enable the green transition, this harmful process must be replaced with non-polluting methods of hydrogen production, such as electrolysis.

There are also large, emerging markets where hydrogen can be used to replace other hard-to-decarbonise processes. One such application is in the production of green steel, where hydrogen is used as a reducing agent, removing oxygen from iron ore in the place of coking coal. Another exciting application is alternative fuels for shipping, such as methanol and ammonia, which are produced using hydrogen.

While there is ongoing debate as to exactly which use cases will ultimately mature and scale, the biggest challenge in the industry is clear – there simply isn’t enough green hydrogen, and we don’t have the capacity to make it.

The answer: Electrolysis, the electrochemical workhorse

At the core of the green hydrogen economy is the electrolyser, a machine that uses electricity to sever to bonds between hydrogen and oxygen in a water molecule.

If the electricity that powers an electrolyser comes from a renewable source, then the hydrogen produced can be zero-emissions. In order to be properly classified as “green”, hydrogen production must be paired with this renewable energy, in such a way that the electricity used to power the electrolysers can be provably linked, spatially and temporally to the production of renewable energy. Regulation in the EU and US is increasing the pressure on hydrogen producers to ensure that the hydrogen they make is matched to renewables production.

To become cost-competitive and unlock hydrogen’s role in these exciting markets, production must become cheaper, with decreases in capital costs and operational costs. Electrolysers themselves need to be designed in such a way that they work efficiently and safely, no matter how much energy they are receiving from the variable renewable energy sources.

This is where Clyde Hydrogen’s innovation comes in.

The Clyde Hydrogen difference

Clyde Hydrogen is a novel hydrogen start-up seeking to revolutionise the hydrogen economy. Capitalising on pioneering research conducted over the last 13 years at the University of Glasgow by Professor Mark Symes, Dr Lee Cronin and team, the technology represents a fundamentally different approach to electrolysis.

Clyde’s spatially and temporally decoupled electrolysis is tailor-made to pair with variable renewable energy. The innovation has the promise to make significant safety improvements, capex savings and operational efficiencies.

We couldn’t be more excited to partner with the Clyde team as they scale and prove their technology. We are delighted to co-invest with the University of Glasgow and a great group of strategic angels. The support provided by the University of Glasgow and the Scottish government will be catalytic for their success.

At Zinc we are making first-cheque investments in mission-driven deep tech and science-led innovation solving massive problems in Climate, the Environment or Health. If you, or someone you know is on such a mission and is yet to receive equity investment, reach out via our website to start a conversation.

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