Burnaby-based cleantech startup Ekona Power has closed its $79 million CAD equity Series A round.
The financing was led by oilfield company Baker Hughes. The amount of Baker Hughes’ investment was undisclosed, but was reportedly the first tranche of its Series A round and gave it a 20 percent stake in Ekona, according to Business in Vancouver. A spokesperson for Ekona told BetaKit the $79 million marks the company’s total funding to date.
Other investors include Mitsui, Severstal, ConocoPhillips, TransAlta, Continental Resources, NGIF Cleantech Ventures, and BDC Capital’s Cleantech Practice.
“We believe that to facilitate the smooth application of hydrogen across global markets, we need a solution that is clean, scalable, and economically viable.”
– Chris Reid
Incorporated in 2017 and established by venture capital firm Evok Innovations and cleantech startup incubator Innovative Breakthrough Energy Technology, Ekona’s methane pyrolysis platform converts natural gas into hydrogen and solid carbon, allowing for the elimination of greenhouse gas emissions.
Hydrogen can be used for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in transportation, heat, and power. To fully unlock its potential, Ekona said hydrogen production must be clean and low cost.
According to Ekona, the investment will support the “commercial readiness,” of the firm’s methane pyrolysis technology platform, which produces clean and low-cost hydrogen.
“We believe that to facilitate the smooth application of hydrogen across global markets, we need a solution that is clean, scalable, and economically viable,” said Chris Reid, CEO of Ekona. “Ekona’s technology has been developed to produce hydrogen at costs on par with conventional steam methane reformers, while considerably reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”
The startup is targeting industrial hydrogen and natural gas decarbonization markets, and is seeking to tap into new markets for byproduct carbon that can further minimize its hydrogen production costs.
In 2020, the Natural Gas Innovation Fund selected Ekona as one of its eight finalists that would receive a cumulative $1.9 million in project funding.
The Natural Gas Innovation Fund promised Ekona $500,000 for the development and field testing of a tri-generation pyrolysis system for clean hydrogen production from natural gas.
New Wave Hydrogen from Calgary, which also operates in the same space as Ekona, received over $800,000 from the Natural Gas Innovation Fund for the development and demonstration of supersonic compression-based natural gas reforming for clean hydrogen production.