Baker Hughes buys stake in low carbon H2 company
By Keefe Borden09 November 2021
Baker Hughes bought about 20% of Ekona Power, Vancouver-based a growth company developing turquoise hydrogen production technologies. The acquisition value and the exact size of the stake in Ekona were not disclosed.
Baker Hughes said it will use its investment to enhance its portfolio of hydrogen and natural gas decarbonization technologies. The investment will give Baker Hughes a seat on Ekona’s board of directors.
Turquoise hydrogen is made from methane using pyrolysis, also known as splitting or cracking. Ekona’s methane pyrolysis technology uses combustion and high-speed gas dynamics in a reactor to separate feedstock methane into hydrogen and solid carbon, which drastically reduces CO2 emissions when compared to the more traditional steam methane reforming process.
The process is designed to easily integrate with standard equipment for natural gas and hydrogen applications, including carbon separation and hydrogen purification, Baker Hughes said.
The two companies will join efforts to accelerate the scale up and industrialization of the technology by identifying suitable pilot projects and using Baker Hughes’ turbomachinery portfolio and technical expertise in modular and scalable solutions for hydrogen and natural gas projects.
“This strategic investment further demonstrates our commitment to advancing new energy frontiers by accelerating the pace at which novel technologies are being brought to market,” said Rod Christie, executive vice president of Turbomachinery & Process Solutions at Baker Hughes.
“Ekona Power’s methane pyrolysis platform for the production of cleaner and lower cost turquoise hydrogen builds on our growing and diverse portfolio of decarbonization technologies, including blue and green hydrogen, CCUS and emissions management solutions,” he said.
Ekona is a Vancouver-based venture established by Evok Innovations and Innovative Breakthrough Energy Technologies.
“Our innovative technology has the potential to produce hydrogen at costs on par with conventional steam methane reformers, while drastically reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Ekona CEO Chris Reid. “In addition, our solution isn’t reliant on CO2 sequestration, so it has the potential to be quickly and broadly deployed across various industries and market regions.”
The investment from Baker Hughes will help Ekona to commercialize its technology, he said.
Along with lead investor Baker Hughes, Ekona has received support from numerous Canadian federal and provincial partners, including the BC Innovative Clean Energy (ICE) Fund, National Research Council (NRC), Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) Breakthrough Energy Solutions Canada (BESC) Program, Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA), the Natural Gas Innovation Fund (NGIF) and Pacific Economic Development Canada.
BDC Capital’s Cleantech Practice also invested in 2020 to help fund Ekona’s technology development program.