These Startups Are Using Hydrogen To Transform Energy Systems

Hydrogen, a clean and efficient energy source, increasingly gains attention across the UK’s diverse business sectors. In moving towards a greener tomorrow, various businesses are piloting ways to embrace this clean energy. This unfolds across malt production driven by wind power, innovative hydrogen-infused asphalt production, and more, carving a fresh and green niche for operations.

The Malt Maker’s Sustainable Move

Tweed Valley Maltings, part of Simpsons Malt, makes strides towards greener malt production in Northumberland. Allocating a piece of their nearly £46 million funding, they’re working towards establishing an energy centre where a wind-powered electric boiler becomes the linchpin of their operations. Steven Rowley, Operations Director, articulates, “We will take a crucial step towards achieving net zero Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions by 2030 by operating this Energy Centre.”

Clean Energy for Industrial Vehicles

Northern Ireland observes a unique venture where Catagen steers towards cleaner fuel for industrial vehicles. With over £6 million backing from the government, their initiative aids in domestically transitioning away from fossil fuels. It also paves the path for potential export channels.

Expressing the initiative’s necessity, Dr Andrew Woods, Catagen’s CEO and Co-Founder, points out, “Developing an end-to-end decarbonised solution with Terex and Wrightbus addresses the difficult pathway to decarbonise off-road mobile machinery.”

Embracing Hydrogen in Construction Material Production

The Bay Hydrogen Hub, under the management of EDF Energy Generation, illustrates another dimension where nuclear energy’s steam propels low-carbon hydrogen production. This is particularly useful in asphalt creation. For Rachael Glaving, Commercial Director at EDF, it’s clear: “Nuclear power can play a vital role in decarbonising industries which rely on fossil fuels. The Bay Hydrogen Hub will help the UK reach net zero.”

The Residential Hydrogen Dilemma

On the home front, hydrogen doesn’t echo the same applause as seen in businesses. Trials related to home heating, supported by the government to potentially phase out natural gas boilers by 2035, clash with opposition and concerns. Energy Minister Grant Shapps confirms, “Trials will be conducted. But I think hydrogen will be used for storing energy.”


A Village Says ‘No’ to Hydrogen Heating

In a case of particular interest, a village-wide hydrogen home heating trial proposed for Whitby, near Ellesmere Port in Cheshire, faced a wall of opposition from the local populace, eventually leading to its discontinuation.

Grant Shapps provided insight into the situation: “It is fundamentally unpopular in that area, and I don’t believe in telling people we will be coming in to rip out your boiler to replace it with something you don’t want.”

Startups Who Are Embracing Hydrogen

While there are mixed reactions across, there are startups who are using hydrogen. These startups are mainly aimed at creating greener solutions:



OXCCU’s mission is to enable future generations the continued use of hydrocarbon fuels but without their climate impact. They are manufacturing novel catalysts and designing novel reactors to convert CO2 and H2 to long-chain hydrocarbons with high conversion and selectivity for use as carbon neutral fuels, chemicals and plastics, most notably Sustainable Aviation Fuel, called OXEFUEL.

This innovative process results in a more cost-effective and decarbonised alternative to fossil-based Jet A fuel for commercial air travel. Work in collaboration with leading researchers at Imperial College London, found that the novel process reduces the capital cost by 50%.

“Even in a net zero world there will be significant demand for hydrocarbons used for aviation fuel, chemicals and plastics. For these applications the combination of carbon and hydrogen in a molecule cannot be substituted due to their properties, but in order to limit global heating we cannot use fossil fuels.

Hence the historic push to biofuels but it is now well known there are strict limits to the amount of available sustainable biomass feedstock due to land use and competition with food and biodiversity. The answer is using CO2 and combining it with H2 to form hydrocarbons. The key is novel catalysts which enable this reaction to happen and reduce the cost.

DefProc Engineering – H2Go hydrogen sensor


H2Go is a domestic hydrogen (H2) sensor designed and developed by DefProc Engineering for the EIC, Northern Gas Networks and Wales & West Utilities.

Currently, there is nothing on the market for domestic hydrogen sensors, but H2Go is reliable, low-cost and looks and works similar to a smoke alarm.

There are two types of sensors in the H2Go device: a multi-element sensor to detect hydrogen, paired with a temperature and humidity sensor.

Depending on the gas mix in the room, the measurement of the sensor elements will change past their programmed thresholds, which is when we know that hydrogen is present above the allowed concentration, and the device will alarm.

However, the alert limit is set so that it will alarm well before the hydrogen levels reach a dangerous concentration.

This domestic hydrogen sensor also contains a visual and audible alarm, and can either be battery-operated or powered by a mains supply, with an easily accessible USB port.

The testing of the H2Go device followed the test recommendations from BS EN50194-1; following the British Standard, the tests ensure that the device is reliable in detecting hydrogen and alarming.
In the future, H2Go will be the basis for manufactured domestic hydrogen sensors.

Compact Syngas Solutions


Compact Syngas Solutions has developed an advanced gasification process that generates hydrogen gas from waste products, including biomass like waste wood and other non-recyclable materials.

This waste is often sent to landfill, where it decomposes and emits harmful gases including carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere.

The technology harnesses this waste by converting it into syngas, a valuable gas that can be used to produce hydrogen for use as a cleaner fuel.

Compact Syngas Solution, based in Deeside, Wales, has won £3,979,113 from the Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (H2BECCS) Innovation Programme, run by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ), to make its biomass and waste-to-hydrogen plants even greener by using carbon capture.

CSS plans to build more than 50 hydrogen modules at around 15 sites, ranging from a single module to six per site offering the flexibility to suit local demand. These 50 modules will annually produce 11,000 tonnes of hydrogen, and capture 29,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

The technology will be key to helping the UK reach its Net Zero 2050 target. The production of low carbon hydrogen from waste materials stops it reaching landfill and creates a fuel that has no greenhouse gas by-products.

United H2 Limited (UHL)


United H2 Limited (UHL) is the world’s largest and most diversified hydrogen conglomerate, with significant positions in 37 companies spanning 16 countries and projects covering all segments of the market, from production to end-use.

Its mission is to develop businesses from seed level to commercial scale so it can build the next generation of energy infrastructure which will provide power and transport for the next 100 years. UHL plans for the United Kingdom to become a key element of its operations due to the commercial opportunities and its close proximity to Europe and the United States.

For this reason, it plans to open an office in London and will be engaging with investors and other stakeholders. UHL is also in the process of finalising a joint venture with technical partners to deliver hydrogen trucks, generators, hydrogen injection kits and vans to the UK and EU markets. UHL is actively seeking technical partners in the UK and Europe to accelerate its growth in these regions. Over the next 18-36 months, it expects the group to invest £150m-200m into these regions.



GeoPura developed a Hydrogen Power Unit (HPU) – a sustainable and innovative solution that delivers reliable hydrogen-powered energy to reduce emissions at any project scale in all environments. The power-generation process involves using renewable energy, such as wind or solar power, to produce hydrogen through electrolysis. This hydrogen is then stored and utilised as fuel in the hydrogen-powered generator.

GeoPura supplies clean energy to users that require power at temporary sites, long-term backup, off-grid power, and energy supply to augment existing grids. The power is provided by leasing GeoPura’s proprietary Hydrogen Power Unit, developed in collaboration with Siemens Energy and a network of hydrogen production sites. GeoPura’s customers comprise a mix of short and long-duration bookings across construction, TV & film, and festivals & events, including BBC and HS2, among others.

Whereas a typical 250kVA diesel generator would emit 960g of CO2 per kWh, as well as 932.5g of NOx/HC, and 327.5g of CO per hour of operation; the HPU emits zero pollutants. The only emission is pure water, and the unit emits far less noise pollution.

Varied Roles in Different Sectors

Hydrogen charts a vivid pathway across various business sectors, manifesting in sustainable malt production and cleaner industrial vehicle fuel. When it comes to hydrogen-infused asphalt production and its journey through residential avenues, though, the path is speckled with hesitation and pushback.

The complexities of integrating hydrogen into the fabric of our daily lives linger, posing intriguing questions. These questions open possible avenues for research, dialogue, and innovation in the ongoing narrative of the UK’s energy transition.