HyGen Industries looks to crowd to power hydrogen fuel stations

A supplier of clean renewable hydrogen for fuel cell electric vehicles hopes to raise $20 million via a Regulation A+ Tier 2 offering launched today.

HyGen Industries aims to develop a series of hydrogen fuel stations to service fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) already developed by Toyota, Hyundai, Honda and other companies.

HyGen’s strategy is to buy renewable electricity and create hydrogen at partner stations through the process of water electrolysis. Partner gas stations use state-of-the-art electrolyzers to produce the hydrogen while FCEVs complete the process by only emitting water vapor into the atmosphere.

Most successful crowdfunding campaigns tap into affinity groups, which HyGen has in significant numbers, its CFO said.

“HyGen is excited to offer the public an opportunity to invest in a carbon-free alternative to fossil fuels for transportation,” Paul Dillon said. “We firmly believe that the JOBS Act provides an ideal opportunity for small investors to become stakeholders in companies generating a positive impact. Our offering allows millions across the U.S., and the world, the chance to vote with their pocketbook for cleaner transportation.”

Paul Dillon

Paul Dillon

HyGen answers an issue in the renewable energy system by taking excess production (which historically has not been feasibly stored at scale), storing it as hydrogen, and selling it as a transportation fuel. The HyGen model allows renewable energy companies to sell excess energy to fuel cars.

Based in California, HyGen was awarded $5.3 million from the California Energy Commission to build clean, renewable hydrogen fueling stations and the new campaign will help accelerate that vision. A wider, more accessible network will encourage more consumers to drive FCEVs, whose numbers are projected to reach 13,500 in California by 2019 before more than tripling to 43,600 by the end of 2022.

Mr. Dillon, who drives a Mirai, Toyota’s hydrogen fuel cell car, said HyGen’s team members have a long history in hydrogen fueling. In the 1990’s they built California’s first hydrogen fueling station at a Xerox facility in El Segundo. Back then early experimental fuel cells were so large they fit in the backs of pickup trucks.

“The industry has spent billions of dollars over the last 20 years to reduce the size of the fuel cells, ” Mr. Dillon said.

The goal is to eventually have 100 hydrogen fueling stations running in California, enough to easily facilitate statewide transportation, Mr. Dillon said, while adding there are 27 today. The industry has 14 more planned for 2017, with HyGen building three of them.

“In Los Angeles, it is totally practical for those living near a station to drive around the city, down to San Diego or out to the Bay Area,” Mr. Dillon added.

HyGen stations are distinct in the fact they do not truck in their energy supply, Mr. Dillon said. Partner stations purchase renewable energy, store hydrogen compressed gas and sell it to vehicle owners.

The Mirai and Honda’s Clarity can go between 310 and 366 miles on one tank, with no difference between highway and city driving, Mr. Dillon said. Filling costs are around $10 per kilogram, with a five kilogram fill. Filling times are the same as they are for gasoline powered vehicles.

A quick glance at the news shows the hydrogen fuel cell industry is gaining momentum, Mr. Dillon said. UPS recently announced the first fuel cell vehicle crossover, while large truck manufacturers like Kenworth are also embracing the technology.

“The larger the vehicle, the more practical it is for hydrogen fuel cells,” Mr. Dillon explained.


HyGen’s campaign is housed on equity crowdfunding site StartEngine.