Sunfire secures landmark investment to accelerate growth of its green hydrogen technologies
Dresden, October 18, 2021
Sunfire, a global leader in the development and production of industrial electrolyzers, has secured €109 million ($125 million) of new funding in its Series D round from a consortium of investors led by Lightrock and Planet First Partners, and including Carbon Direct Capital Management, HydrogenOne Capital, and existing shareholders. The new investment will further strengthen Sunfire’s leading position in the rapidly growing market for green hydrogen technologies.
“Today’s announcement marks the largest equity raise of a green-hydrogen-focused private company anywhere to date.1) These new funds will allow Sunfire to bring its advanced pressurized alkaline and game-changing solid oxide (SOEC) electrolysis technologies to industrial scale, building the first in a series of production gigafactories, creating both meaningful electrolysis capacity for our customers and attractive returns for our investors.” Nils Aldag, Co-Founder and CEO of Sunfire, said.
Aldag continued: “Our electrolysis technologies are critical for increasing green hydrogen supply that is needed to decarbonize industrial companies at significant scale. Europe is emerging as a global leader in the hydrogen sector, and Sunfire plans to be a frontrunner by providing world-class technology at scale. We will be hiring a large number of additional talented people across all functional areas to fulfil our promise.”
Sunfire has recently announced plans to scale its alkaline electrolysis business, building a large-scale electrolyzer production site in Germany with an annual manufacturing capacity of 500 MW by 2023 – with a further extension to gigawatt-scale already in planning.
Simultaneously, Sunfire will drive the development of its game-changing solid oxide (SOEC) electrolyzers. SOEC technology is set to change the scale of hydrogen production through both greater efficiency and its unique capability of producing ‘syngas’. Syngas, a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide, can be converted into everything currently produced from fossil crude oil, such as jet fuel, diesel or waxes, but without the harmful emissions that come from using fossil fuel feedstocks.
Founded in 2010 by Nils Aldag, Christian von Olshausen and Carl Berninghausen, Sunfire has developed into a leading industrial electrolysis company employing more than 270 people. The company pioneered the production of synthetic fuels via a so-called Power-to-Liquid (PtL) process. Through strategic company acquisitions, Sunfire has grown into a developer and manufacturer of electrolyzers – first becoming a world-leader in high-temperature electrolysis (SOEC) and recently adding advanced pressurized alkaline electrolysis to its product portfolio.
Comments from Series D Investors
“Sunfire’s unique technologies will drive down costs for green hydrogen production, helping to establish a competitive hydrogen value chain and further increasing the range of industries that can economically decarbonize. The many net-zero targets set by businesses and governments cannot be met without a dramatic scaling in green hydrogen production and adoption, which Sunfire will play an integral part in facilitating. We are privileged to be partnering with Nils and the team on this journey, and fulfilling Lightrock’s commitment to a significant and measurable positive climate impact,” Kevin Bone, Partner at Lightrock, said.
Frédéric de Mévius, Managing Partner of Planet First Partners said: “Green hydrogen has tremendous potential to abate at least ten percent of global carbon emissions. Sunfire’s breakthrough electrolysis technologies, the scale-up of manufacturing capacities and the overall dynamism its management team is bringing to the market will benefit the ramp-up and use of green hydrogen across industrial and transport applications.”
Andreea Constantinescu, Partner at Planet First Partners, said: “We are excited about Sunfire’s contribution to the European goals of energy sovereignty, reducing dependence on natural gas and other fossil-fuels and creating green jobs. Sunfire’s material and measurable sustainability credentials, its robust and differentiated technology, and its European heritage, mean it lies at the core of our mandate at Planet First Partners.”
“Decarbonizing hydrogen is critical to meeting international climate goals,” commented Jonathan Goldberg, CEO & Founder of Carbon Direct. “Paired with renewable energy inputs, Sunfire's electrolysis technologies offer commercially robust green hydrogen solutions. We are excited to support the Sunfire team as they pursue gigawatt scale.”
Simon Hogan, Chairman of HydrogenOne said: “We are delighted to announce the first private capital investment for HydrogenOne. Sunfire is one of just a handful of leading electrolyzer suppliers focusing on providing solutions to enable the production of clean hydrogen, in a market that is poised for significant growth in the coming years.”
Goldman Sachs Bank Europe SE served as exclusive financial adviser and placement agent to Sunfire.
1) Screening of all equity issuances by unlisted companies with “hydrogen” in company name, description, or other category, per Thomson Reuters and Crunchbase, October 15, 2021.
2) Image: Sunfire management (from left to right): Stephan Garabet, Bernhard Zwinz, Nils Aldag & Christian von Olshausen © Sunfire GmbH
Sunfire is a global leader in the development and production of industrial electrolyzers based on alkaline and solid oxide (SOEC) technologies. With its electrolysis solutions, Sunfire is addressing a key challenge of today’s energy system: Providing renewable hydrogen and fuels from renewable electricity, water, and CO2 as climate-neutral substitutes for fossil energy. Sunfire’s innovative and proven electrolysis technologies enable the transformation of carbon-intensive industries that are currently dependent on fossil-based oil, gas, or coal. The company employs more than 270 people located in Germany, Norway, and Switzerland.
For further information please visit www.sunfire.de
Lightrock is a global private equity platform that backs purpose-driven entrepreneurs tackling the world’s biggest challenges. Since 2007, Lightrock has invested in companies that pursue scalable and tech-driven business models around the key impact themes of people, planet, and productivity/tech for good. Lightrock’s portfolio includes more than 60 high-growth companies, supported by over 60 professionals based in 5 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 further information please visit www.lightrock.com
About Planet First Partners
Planet First Partners (PFP) is a sustainable investment platform focused on European growth stage companies looking to scale up technology enabled solutions to the greatest environmental and societal challenges of our time. Our approach is to work “hands with” mission aligned entrepreneurs and investors to deliver on our common vision of healthier people and a healthier planet. PFP is headquartered in London and was created in 2019 by former Verlinvest founder, CEO and later Chairman Frédéric de Mévius and former Managing Director Alexander de Wit.
For further information please visit www.planetfirst.partners
About Carbon Direct
Carbon Direct combines scientific expertise and financial capital to scale carbon removal & utilization into a global industry. Our investment business – Carbon Direct Capital Management LLC – makes direct investments into leading carbon management companies. Our advisory business works for corporate clients to fulfill their carbon management commitments. Carbon Direct’s team of world-renowned carbon scientists has a critical understanding of the risks and opportunities of emerging and mature carbon technologies. The firm was founded by Jonathan Goldberg and has offices in New York City.
For further information please visit www.carbon-direct.com
HydrogenOne was launched in 2021 with an investment objective to deliver an attractive level of capital growth by investing in a diversified portfolio of hydrogen and complementary hydrogen focused assets. INEOS Energy is a strategic investor in HydrogenOne. The Company is listed on the London Stock Exchange’s main market (ticker code: HGEN).
For further information please visit www.hydrogenonecapital.com