Sunfire secures 109 million euros to industrialize hydrogen technologies
Dresden, 18 October 2021
Because green hydrogen is urgently needed for decarbonisation, a new market is developing at a rapid pace in Europe. In this phase, a consortium of investors is providing the Dresden-based company Sunfire with 109 million euros (125 million US dollars) for the industrialization of its electrolysis technologies. In addition to lead investors Lightrock and Planet First Partners, Carbon Direct Capital Management and HydrogenOne Capital as well as existing investors are also involved.
“Never before has a green hydrogen company that is not listed on the stock exchange raised so much investor money “1), comments Sunfire CEO Nils Aldag on the financing round. “We will use the Series D funds to transfer our two electrolysis technologies to industrial scale and build the first gigafactories. On the one hand, this will enable us to meet the requirements of our customers and, at the same time, generate attractive returns for our investors.”
Europe is moving ahead decisively in the field of hydrogen technologies – and Sunfire wants to establish itself as one of the leading companies. “In order to live up to this claim, we are further strengthening our team of experts in all areas of the company,” announces Aldag.
Sunfire, which is creating new jobs and value chains in Saxony, among other places, is symbolic of the economic opportunities arising from the energy transition. Just recently, the company announced its scaling plans. By 2023, Sunfire will establish a production facility for alkaline electrolysers in Germany with a capacity of 500 MW per year. A further expansion to 1 GW per year is already being planned.
At the same time, the company is pushing ahead with the development of its high-temperature electrolysers (SOEC). Due to its efficiency, this technology will set new standards for the production of green hydrogen. In addition, Sunfire’s SOEC electrolysers can produce a synthesis gas in just one step that can be converted into products such as kerosene, diesel or waxes – replacing fossil feedstocks such as oil, natural gas and coal.
Sunfire, founded in 2010 by Nils Aldag, Christian von Olshausen and Carl Berninghausen, initially made a name for itself with the production of synthetic fuels. Through strategic company acquisitions, the company has developed into a developer and manufacturer of electrolysers in recent years – initially as the global market leader in the field of high-temperature electrolysis and, since 2021, also in the field of alkaline pressure electrolysis.
Voices of the investors
Kevin Bone, Partner at Lightrock: “Sunfire’s unique technologies will lower the cost of producing green hydrogen and help establish a competitive hydrogen value chain. This will further increase the number of industries that can decarbonize economically. The goals of many companies and governments to achieve carbon neutrality cannot be achieved without dramatically increasing the production and use of green hydrogen. Sunfire will play an integral role in making this possible. At Lightrock, we look forward to working with Nils and the Sunfire team on this journey and fulfilling our commitment to make a significant and measurable positive impact on the climate.”
Frédéric de Mévius, Managing Partner at Planet First Partners, said, “Green hydrogen has the enormous potential to reduce at least ten percent of global CO2 emissions. Sunfire’s leading electrolysis technologies, the expansion of production capacity and the momentum the management team is bringing to the market will drive the diffusion and deployment of green hydrogen in industry and transport.”
Andreea Constantinescu, Partner at Planet First Partners: “Sunfire can make a significant contribution to achieving Europe’s goals – especially in terms of European energy sovereignty, reducing dependence on natural gas and other fossil fuels, and creating sustainable jobs. Sunfire convinced us with its proven and differentiated technology and its sustainability. The company is firmly rooted in Europe, making it the focus of our mandate at Planet First Partners.”
Jonathan Goldberg, CEO and founder of Carbon Direct: “The decarbonization of hydrogen is critical to achieving climate goals. Combined with renewable energy, Sunfire’s electrolysis technologies offer commercially proven solutions for green hydrogen production. We look forward to supporting the Sunfire team as they move to gigawatt scale.”
Simon Hogan, Chairman of HydrogenOne said, “We are delighted to announce the first investment in a private hydrogen company for HydrogenOne. Sunfire is one of the few leading electrolysis providers focused on delivering hydrogen production solutions in a market that is set to grow strongly in the coming years.”
Goldman Sachs Bank Europe SE was the exclusive financial advisor and placement agent for Sunfire.
1) Screening of all equity raises by unlisted companies with “hydrogen” in the company name, description or other category, according to Thomson Reuters and Crunchbase, October 15, 2021.
2) Sunfire management (from left to right): Stephan Garabet, Bernhard Zwinz, Nils Aldag & Christian von Olshausen © Sunfire GmbH
Founded in 2010, Sunfire GmbH is a leading global electrolysis company that develops and manufactures industrial electrolysers based on alkali and solid oxide technologies (SOEC). With its electrolysis solutions, Sunfire addresses the key challenge of today’s energy system: the provision of green hydrogen and e-fuels from renewable electricity, water and CO2 as a climate-neutral substitute for fossil energy. Sunfire’s innovative and proven electrolysis technologies enable the decarbonisation of industrial sectors that are currently still dependent on oil, gas or coal. The company employs more than 270 people at locations in Germany, Norway and Switzerland.
For more information, visit www.sunfire.de
Lightrock is an international private equity firm that helps Purpose-Driven Entrepreneurs solve the biggest challenges of our time. Since 2007, Lightrock has invested in technology companies pursuing scalable business models around the core themes of people, planet and productivity/technology. Lightrock’s portfolio includes more than 60 high-growth companies supported by over 60 professionals in five offices across Europe, Latin America, India and Africa. Lightrock is backed by the Princely House of Liechtenstein and LGT, the international private banking and asset management group.
For more information, visit www.lightrock.com
About Planet First Partners
Planet First Partners (PFP) is a sustainable investment company focused on European companies (Growth Stage) with technological solutions to the greatest environmental and social challenges of our time. Our approach is to work “hand in hand” with entrepreneurs and investors to achieve our shared vision of healthier people and a healthier planet. PFP is headquartered in London and was founded in 2019 by former Verlinvest founder, CEO and later Chairman Frédéric de Mévius and former Managing Director Alexander de Wit.
For more information, visit www.planetfirst.partners
About Carbon Direct
Carbon Direct uses scientific expertise and financial capital to develop a global industry around the extraction and use of CO2. Our investment arm – Carbon Direct Capital Management LLC – makes direct investments in leading cleantech companies. Our consulting firm helps corporate clients meet their greenhouse gas reduction commitments. Carbon Direct, a team of world-renowned scientists in carbon emissions management, has a critical understanding of the risks and opportunities of new and mature carbon technologies. The company was founded by Jonathan Goldberg and has offices in New York City.
For more information, visit www.carbon-direct.com
HydrogenOne was founded in 2021 with the objective of achieving attractive capital growth by investing in a diversified portfolio of hydrogen and hydrogen-oriented solutions. INEOS Energy is a strategic investor in HydrogenOne. The company is listed on the main market of the London Stock Exchange (ticker symbol: HGEN).
For more information, visit www.hydrogenonecapital.com
Share on the network: