Working collaboratively with the University of Hull, HiiROC is a Hull-based small business that has developed Thermal Plasma Electrolysis which will accelerate cost-effective and climate-friendly hydrogen production using production units they have also designed, developed and build themselves. The first phase of business development focused on the development of IP and the business has now secured orders for its prototype units from interested industrial customers. The business recently secured a grant of £36,000 from the HEY LEP's Growing Hull and East Yorkshire business investment grant scheme to scale up production of these units to fulfil these orders.
Current methods of hydrogen production are predominantly steam methane reforming (SMR) and water electrolysis. Both pathways have fundamental disadvantages, either in the level of emissions produced, the cost of production or the amount of energy needed being more than the output of the hydrogen generated. The HiiROC solution has a number of advantages over these traditional methods.
Hydrocarbons are “disassembled' into hydrogen and solid carbon, meaning no CO2 is emitted. The HiiROC solution ‘splits’ the hydrogen from the carbon in hydrocarbons, without combustion and without oxygen.
Thermal Plasma Electrolysis has lower CapEx and lower operational costs than other technologies and also has the potential to create an additional revenue stream from the bi-product carbon - for example for soil improvement or cow feed to reduce methane output. It offers a more energy efficient solution than other methods, producing more hydrogen per kW of electricity and with use of onsite production units removal of transportation costs and reduced storage & compression costs.
The production units are flexible, mobile and can be installed on-site at the point of demand (smallest unit is 6m2/6m3). The HiiROC Solution is scalable, combining multiple units to enable both local and industrial production.
The founders researched ways to make a real impact on climate change for many years. Trial and error, not being afraid to fail all played a part in this process. Networking and exploring all new technologies led us to be introduced to the professors who were world leaders in the plasma field. This then, many years later led to HiiROC being formed.
Along the way we have engaged with several government and council entities, the best of which have been the Hull and East Yorkshire LEP. When engaged fully with an LEP or council, and you can clearly demonstrate what difference your business will have in the area - good things will happen.
In terms of funding we were fortunate to have seed investors that enabled us to get to prove our Thermal Plasma Electrolysis process. This was majority enable by the governments Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme, which allows investors to get tax relief off their investment. Its a great scheme that mitigates risk for the investor.
Amount of carbon offset.
Installed capacity for hydrogen production.