Norwegian hydrogen firm Hystar gets funding from Mitsubishi, Nippon Steel

OSLO, Jan 11 (Reuters) - Norwegian hydrogen company Hystar has secured $26 million in funding, including from Japanese industrials Mitsubishi and Nippon Steel Trading, to scale up its electrolyser production, it said on Wednesday.

Mitsubishi Corporation co-led the funding round together with London-based fund AP Ventures, an existing investor, Hystar Chief Executive Fredrik Mowill told Reuters.

Together, the two companies accounted for about half of the raised capital, he added.

“We wanted to bring along some very large international industrial investors to help to develop the business, who could not only invest cash, but that can also help grow the business,” he said.

In addition to the two Japanese firms, this included Belgium-based investment company Finindus, owned 50% by steel-maker ArcelorMittal, Mowill added.

All three firms are also potentially large customers, with ambitious plans for implementing green hydrogen, he said.

“Green hydrogen is one of the key focuses for Mitsubishi Corporation and we believe Hystar’s unique technology has the potential to significantly impact its large-scale deployment,” Toshihiro Hayashi, general manager of Mitsubishi’s mineral resources group, said in a statement.

Financial firms Hillhouse Investment and Trustbridge Partners also joined the latest funding round.

Electrolysers produce green hydrogen by splitting water with the use of electricity, allowing for the decarbonisation of otherwise hard-to-abate industry sectors.

Hystar says its technology will use 10% less energy compared to currently available models and is easy to scale up.

The fresh capital injection will help set up an automated production line, support sales and marketing operations and finance staff expansion, with Hystar seeking to double its number of employees from 30 at present, Mowill said.

The company is also working on a pilot project for producing green ammonia, supported by domestic partners Equinor and Yara. (Reporting by Nora Buli, editing by Terje Solsvik)