Electrochaea raises 36 million euros
Using microbial electrochemical cells, the young company produces climate-neutral methane from CO2 and green hydrogen.
In its overall balance, natural gas is a similarly strong driver of climate change as petroleum. An alternative to this would be climate-neutral methane that is compatible with the existing infrastructure. Electrochaea, based in Planegg near Munich, promises to produce just such methane, and has now received €14.9 million from the European Innovation Council Fund (EIC Fund) for further growth. This brings the Series D funding round to a total of €36 million. According to Electrochaea, this is the world's largest financing round for a power-to-methane company.
Power-to-Gas in one step
In the conventional power-to-gas process, water is split into hydrogen and oxygen by electrolysis in a first step. In a second step, the hydrogen is then converted with carbon dioxide into methane. Electrochaea combines these two steps into one, with a microbial electrochemical cell responsible for the reaction. Microbes from the realm of archaea act as biocatalysts and use their metabolism to complete the necessary conversion steps from CO2 and green hydrogen to methane. Electrochaea holds exclusive licenses to patents from the University of Chicago for both the special archaea strain and the design of the microbial electrochemical cell. The development of the cell was funded by the Central Innovation Program for SMEs of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.
"The investment by the EIC Fund will enable Electrochaea to supply renewable gas to customers throughout Europe and the world," says Mich Hein, CEO of Electrochaea. "Our technology has already been proven in two demonstration plants in Denmark and Switzerland." Starting in 2025, the company plans to produce 425 million cubic meters of renewable biosynthetic natural gas annually.
Capital for large-scale commercial project
"Electrochaea is a great example of how the EIC Fund is helping innovative climate technology companies bring their technologies to market and achieve the goals of the Green Deal," said Martin Bruncko, a member of the EIC Fund's Investment Committee, explaining the investment. "This financing will help Electrochaea successfully produce renewable methane on an industrial scale that can replace natural gas and be stored and transported in the existing gas grid."
The additional capital will now be used for the construction of a large-scale commercial project. In addition to the EIC Fund, Baker Hughes and existing investors MVP, ENGIE subsidiary Storengy, btov, KfW, Energie 360°, Caliza and Focus First have invested.