Israeli startup to supply hydrogen tech to Japan’s Sumitomo Corp

Agreement, valued at $250 million, will see H2Pro electrolyzers used to produce hydrogen and green ammonia for agriculture, shipping, energy

Sue Surkes is The Times of Israel's environment reporter

Left: Shingo Ueno, Executive Vice President and Head of Energy Innovation Initiative, Sumitomo Corporation. Right: Talmon Marco, CEO, H2Pro. (Courtesy, Sumitomo Corporation)
Left: Shingo Ueno, Executive Vice President and Head of Energy Innovation Initiative, Sumitomo Corporation. Right: Talmon Marco, CEO, H2Pro. (Courtesy, Sumitomo Corporation)

An Israeli company has signed a strategic agreement with a major Japanese conglomerate to supply its technology for producing hydrogen, a gas widely seen as a source of green power for the future.

The Caesarea-based H2Pro company will work with Tokyo-headquartered Sumitomo Corporation in a deal valued at $250 million by 2030, according to the announcement last week.

H2Pro has the sole license to produce an electrolyzer developed by the Grand Technion Energy Program at Technion University in Haifa.

Hydrogen doesn’t exist by itself in nature but is bound up with other molecules to form water (hydrogen and oxygen) or hydrocarbons (hydrogen and carbon) found in oil and natural gas.

Using an electrolyzer, hydrogen can be isolated from water. If the electricity used to do this comes from renewable sources such as the sun, the hydrogen is labeled green.

Storing and transporting hydrogen in gas form is a challenge, not least because it takes up a lot of space.

Therefore, it is often combined with nitrogen to form ammonia, which, as a liquid, is more condensed.

H2Pro’s E-TAC development system in a laboratory setting. (PRNewsfoto/H2Pro)

Again, if renewable sources are used to generate the relatively small amount of electricity used in the chemical process of creating ammonia, then it too can be labeled green.

Sumitomo Corporation is interested in producing and selling green ammonia, which has potential not only as a carbon-free fertilizer in agriculture but as a source of green electricity and fuel for hard-to-decarbonize industries such as shipping. The Japanese firm plans to integrate the electrolyzer technology in 2025.

H2Pro is currently building a 0.4-kilogram megawatt pilot project capable of producing 200 kilograms of hydrogen per day.

Its factory in an industrial zone near Nazareth Israel will start producing the first commercially-available electrolyzers in 2024.

According to H2Pro’s business development director, Rotem Arad, Sumitomo will be involved in the pilot stage to learn the technology, while also providing engineering expertise and even raw materials such as nickel, which it mines.

The conglomerate’s businesses cover a wide range of fields, including energy, chemicals, mineral, metal products, and electronics.

“As H2Pro scales from a breakthrough technology startup to a commercial-scale manufacturer, a partnership such as this with Sumitomo Corporation is invaluable,” said Talmon Marco, H2Pro’s CEO.

Yoshihiko Ichikawa, general manager of Sumitomo Corporation’s hydrogen business department, said: “Green hydrogen will play a critical role in Japan’s decarbonization strategy. At Sumitomo Corporation, we are preparing for this transition by working to employ the most efficient means of green hydrogen production in our clean energy [project] pipeline. Our partnership with H2Pro propels this vision forward.

Former Environmental Protection Minister Tamar Zandberg stands between Talmon Marco of H2Pro (to her left) and Moundir Zniber of Gaia Energy after the signing of an MoU between the two companies at the Israel Pavilion, UN COP27 climate conference, Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, November 8, 2022. (Courtesy, H2Pro)

In November, H2Pro signed a strategic agreement to supply of green hydrogen with Moroccan renewable energy developer Gaia Energy

The company also has a 200-megawatt partnership with Doral Energy and a factory in the

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