Aster Capital, the European venture capital firm sponsored by Alstom, Solvay Rhodia and Schneider Electric, announced today a EUR 4 million investment in SolarFuel GmbH, the world-leader in carbon-neutral electricity-to-synthetic-gas conversion systems. This investment is part of a EUR 7.5 million financing round which includes Ventrex Automotive GmbH (Austria) along with private investors. SolarFuel will use the proceeds of this financing round to accelerate the development of its proprietary electrolysis and gasification technologies as well as to step up market development in Germany and elsewhere.
The underlying rationale for SolarFuel’s unique process for converting electricity to hydrogen or methane is to connect the electric network to the significant existing storage capacity inherent in the natural gas network. For future energy systems with large shares of electricity generated by renewables, low cost bulk energy storage will be the key enabler. Most other storage technologies - including pumped-hydro – have storage capacity of only a few hours and address intra-day peaks. SolarFuel’s technology enables balancing electricity supply and demand over several days to months and to transfer renewable energy – which might otherwise be curtailed - to other uses such as for heating and mobility.