With the ever-increasing population resulted in more usage of natural resources. Our Earth is depleting its natural resources, and it has been providing us ever since the existence of humans on earth. It has been experiencing a major crisis, and the need to develop our natural resources has come forth.
The thought of transforming energy into renewable resources does sound like an enchanting theory. The concept struck Gerard Gatt, CEO of Sakowin Green Energy. It stands at the forefront of Sustainable Hydrogen.
Initially, it began with making H2 with water electrolysis and later preceded producing sustainable hydrogen. The sustainable hydrogen produced is not only cost competitive but also energetically efficient. All credits go to the use of biomethane or natural gas as the feedstock.
This pioneering technology is accompanied by numerous grants that are CO2 emissions and the ability to H2 on-site and fostering towards the demand. Sakowin produces equipment to produce hydrogen and solid carbon with zero CO2 emissions from gas.
Let’s dive into the revolutionary journey of Sakowin and learn more about it:
Beginning of Sakowin
While beginning to talk about the inception of the Sakowin. Gerard states it began with electrolysis! His old colleague, whom he met in the United States and who invested in hydrogen, contacted him to kickstart an electrolysis technology using water molecule resonance.
Back then, this technology offered remarkable results. As is common in industrial innovation, his company ran into some obstacles during the industrialization of the process and had to pause the development of this first company. This is how he started focusing on another aspect of the energy transition that other contacts had made me discover: the role of gas.
As a substitute for coal and oil, natural gas has proven to be effective and has been qualified as a type of green energy by the European Union. While the most modern coal-fired power plants emit around 800 grams of CO2 per kWh, gas-fired power plants’ emissions range between 350 and 400 grams.
If one had to choose between these types of fossil fuels, gas is a cleaner alternative transitioning to greener energy. Gas, therefore, offers an effective solution to produce hydrogen while making use of existing infrastructure if the method of treatment is modified and decomposition is favored over combustion.
This is how he discovered plasma technology, which allows them to decompose methane into hydrogen and solid carbon with no CO2 emissions. After meeting with several specialists, he created Sakowin.
Enroute Journey So Far
Gerard had over thirty years of experience in business development, with major successes in diverse sectors. He has worked in the digital sector as product manager of Citrix in the USA during my first five years, where he launched Citrix’s blockbuster product line Metaframe. Then, Gerard had the opportunity to develop and implement the Citrix international strategy as Senior Marketing Director, where he contributed to the revenue increase of the company outside the USA, from $1M to $150M in four years.
Gerard mentions working in essential oils as CEO of Albert Vieille, purchased in 2019 by Givaudan– taking part in tripling the company’s revenue in five years. Since 2017, he has been fully committed to the clean energy industry and the production of decarbonated hydrogen, wanting to invest his experience in business development into technology that is useful for the energy transition.
Prime Products of Sakowin
At Sakowin, they have developed methane plasmolysis technology that allows us to produce decarbonated hydrogen and solid carbon.
It’s a technological brick that can be integrated into the existing industrial chains of production at the end of gas lines. It allows them to produce hydrogen onsite and avoid two major obstacles to a competitive and sustainable hydrogen industry.
First, the issue of transporting and stocking hydrogen when its production is decentralized disappears no need to liquify hydrogen to transport it, which is a very energy-consuming process.
High-pressure compression makes the operation more complex and does not resolve the issues linked to stock. The technologies being developed to solve these issues are promising but are not mature enough yet.
The solution allows clients to capitalize on existing gas infrastructure and limit the cost of hydrogen use, both in terms of installing units of production and in terms of transport.
Solid carbon, also generated by the solution, can also be used in construction and agriculture, with a positive impact on the environment. Our technology, when using biomethane, even allows users to be negative in terms of CO2 production.
Principles of Sakowin
“Commitment and excellence.”
The firm has eight scientists who all have their expertise. At Sakowin, they are conscious of the importance of contributing effectively to the energy transition with an approach that is both realistic and ambitious.
Gerard states, “We stay realistic by accounting for production costs and by acknowledging the short, medium, and long-term strategy to reach decarbonization goals at a large scale while taking into account the infrastructure already at our disposal.”
In parallel, their decarbonization objectives are ambitious, intending to limit the effects of climate change.
Guiding Through the Trails of Leadership
“Vision is key”
The energy transition requires much more than just technology, and only a broad understanding of what is at stake here can help a team to envision success and make sense of daily work, even when times are hard.
The European Union currently consumes 786.432 Mtoe in petroleum, gas, and coal. The RePowerEU initiative predicts the use of 14 Mt of renewable hydrogen by 2030, of which 9.6 Mt would be produced within the European Union. Those 9.6 Mt represent 11 Mtoe, which is slightly more than 1 % of the current consumption of fossil fuels in Europe!
And yet, with the electrolysis technology currently being promoted on the continent, this 1% would represent a considerable cost.
The production of 1 kg of green hydrogen by electrolysis requires 59 kWh of renewable energy. In 2021, renewable energy capacity in Europe was 15,5Gtoe.
Therefore, the firm needs to devote more than all our capacity of renewables to reach our goal! In the short term, we urgently need to deploy more efficient solutions to produce hydrogen where we need it most: in the industry first.
Source: BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2022 (https://www.connaissancedesenergies.org/bp-statistical-review-world-energy-2022-les-chiffres-cles-de-lenergie-dans-le-monde-220629): Primary energy: Consumption by fuel (p. 9) et Electricity generation by fuel (p. 50)
+ 1 kg H2 = 33 kWh et convertisseur https://www.onlineconversion.com/energy.html
Supervision through the Adversities
While addressing the challenges, Gerard mentions “Emergency, Capacity, Cost.”
Emergency because climate change has become a highly pressing issue, as we can now see almost every day.
Capacity, because the challenge is as big as the problem, and we need to act at a scale never seen before.
Lastly, cost, because hydrogen is a market, and competitiveness is key in global competition.
That’s why Gerard strongly believes in their methane plasmalysis as it is much more energy efficient and, therefore, cost-effective than electrolysis.
Words of Wisdom
Gerard states, “First, know your topic: read about it and talk to people who are knowledgeable about it.”
He would not have been able to create Sakowin without numerous conversations with people from different fields and with the same awareness of issues and difficulties linked to the energy transition, exclaimed Gerard.
Furthermore, he adds, “Second: know why you’re doing it. Being aware of the role I can play in the energy transition is what drives me every day!”
Vision towards the Future
Sakowin is aiming for an industrial pilot by 2024 and commercialization by 2025. They would be building a 6-kW prototype in 2022, which is also an active period of research for partnerships with industrial actors committed to the decarbonization of their activities and interested in new uses for solid carbon. Numerous industries are involved: material manufacturing, construction, agriculture, automotive, etc.
Sakowin currently has partnerships with Ponticelli, Saint-Gobain, the ADF group, and AES Dana. Bpifrance (a public investment bank in France), awarded Sakowin its Deeptech label in March of 2022 and allocated to Sakowin €2.5M financing.
The firm also benefits from the support of the European Innovation Council (EIC Accelerator), with a €6.5M financing (€2.5M grant and €4M in equity).