SoHHytec wins CHF 150,000 to develop the fuel of the future

© SoHHytec founder Dr. Saurabh Tembhurne (CEO) and co-founder Prof. Sophia Haussener (scientific advisor)

© SoHHytec founder Dr. Saurabh Tembhurne (CEO) and co-founder Prof. Sophia Haussener (scientific advisor)

EPFL Cleantech startup SoHHytec manufactures systems for the cost-effective on-site generation of renewable fuel and power. The startup’s patented technology uses sun and water to produce hydrogen, oxygen, electricity, and heat—at the same time and in the same place. SoHHytec’s sustainable solution caters to the needs of the industrial, residential, and farming sectors. The Lausanne-based startup will use the CHF 150,000 to advance product development.

Hydrogen is well recognized as a sustainable alternative to conventional fossil fuels. Hydrogen is already widely used as a feedstock in a multitude of industries (e.g., metalworking, fertilizer, electronics, etc.), and its adoption as a fuel for mobility and energy storage is growing at a fast rate. Currently, there is no effective on-site clean-hydrogen production system: Around 96% of the world’s hydrogen demand is met by transporting fossil-fuel-based hydrogen from centralized steam-reforming facilities. This causes pollution and additional expenses: The cost of transporting hydrogen to its destination of use is two to three times higher than its production cost. Additionally, alternative approaches of producing electricity using existing solar systems face issues concerning long-term energy storage and grid instability.

Lausanne-based cleantech startup SoHHytec has developed the Arb, an artificial tree offering a versatile solution to these problems. The Arb uses sustainable resources—concentrated sunlight and water—to simultaneously produce highly pure hydrogen, oxygen, electricity, and heat. This patented integrated device shows record stability, high solar-to-fuel, and solar-to-electricity efficiency, and cost-effective fuel and power production. Industries like steel, gas-utilities, chemical, and mobility are using the Arb to provide clean, on-site hydrogen production; energy utility and real-estate companies are looking to provide off-grid sustainable energy solutions with Arb. SoHHytec is currently completing the long-term testing of the existing Arb pilot, located at EPFL campus. The startup is also advancing its commercial-scale pilot project called Arbs Garden, where they will be deploying multiple Arbs to directly meet the needs of a steel processing factory in Switzerland. This is planned to be followed by commercial pilots around the world—noticeably in the EU, US, and India—targeting the growing market for clean hydrogen generation worldwide, which is estimated at EUR 120 billion.

SoHHytec a spin-off from the Laboratory of Renewable Energy (LRESE) at EPFL. The startup was founded by Dr. Saurabh Tembhurne (CEO) and co-founders Prof. Sophia Haussener (scientific advisor) and Dr. Meng Lin (Asia head). SoHHytec will use the CHF 150,000 to develop their commercial pilot, close partnership deals, and prepare for industrialization and internationalization. “Venture Kick provided us with the visibility and platform to grow our industry network, and we benefited extensively from the Venture Kick camps. Particularly, it motivated us to have further detailed interactions with our potential customers and partners, which ultimately allowed us to identify our priority target markets. We are now on our path to even more solid venture development, with multiple relevant customers, partners, and investors in the pipeline,” said Saurabh Tembhurne, SoHHytec CEO and co-founder.