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Energy Co. Partners to Find New Hydrogen Production Catalyst

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A Jericho Energy Ventures Inc. portfolio company is partnering with an Italian company to find low-cost, high-performance electrocatalysts for hydrogen production through water electrolysis.

Jericho Energy Ventures Inc. (JEV:TSX.V; JROOF:OTC; JLM:FSE) announced that portfolio company H2U Technologies and the Italian company De Nora have entered into a research and development agreement to find low-cost, high-performance electrocatalysts for hydrogen production through water electrolysis.

The catalysts developed will help expand the hydrogen value chain and drive the transition to clean energy, the companies announced.

The agreement follows a previous collaboration between the companies to leverage H2U's exclusive Catalyst Discovery Engine™ (CDE) to pioneer groundbreaking electrocatalysts that can be used in systems for water electrolysis-based hydrogen production.

"We are pleased to continue our partnership with H2U Technologies," said De Nora Chief Technology Officer Christian Urgeghe. "With H2U utilizing ultra-high efficiency and speed electrocatalyst screening technology, De Nora aims to further consolidate its leadership position in the hydrogen segment."

De Nora said it is the world's largest supplier of high-performing catalyst-coated membranes.

H2U's CDE is a data-driven, rapid-screening process that allows scientists to make, characterize, and quantify the catalytic activity of thousands of material compositions per week – 10,000 times faster than any other discovery method.

"We are honored to collaborate with a partner of De Nora's stature, a renowned global authority in catalytic coatings and membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs) for electrolysis," said H2U President and Chief Executive Officer Mark McGough. "We are aligned in our commitment to cost reduction and the facilitation of rapid expansion in green hydrogen production and look forward to continuing to work with them."

The world's energy suppliers are scaling up electrolyzer manufacturing as hydrogen is pushed as a clean and safe alternative to fossil fuels.

Hydrogen is the most abundant molecule in the universe, but it doesn't occur by itself naturally on Earth and must be separated from water or hydrocarbon carbons using electrolyzers. Contemporary electrolyzer designs use rare and costly platinum-group metals like iridium.

The Catalyst: Near-Zero Emissions

H2U's catalysts are cost-effective and more available than iridium, Jericho said.

"Utilizing these affordable alternatives expands the possibilities for electrolyzer stack design, enabling H2U to explore avenues unrestricted by ultra-thin catalyst layers and low usage of catalysts," the company noted. "H2U believes this flexibility should significantly reduce capital expenses, producing more affordable delivered hydrogen."

JEV co-led H2U's Series A financing in 2021 and has an appointment on its Board of Directors.

It's difficult to discover non-iridium catalysts because new materials often degrade rapidly under the harsh acidic conditions needed for the process, Jericho said.

The hydrogen market has the "potential for near-zero greenhouse gas emissions," the U.S. Department of Energy has said.

"Hydrogen generates electrical power in a fuel cell, emitting only water vapor and warm air," the agency wrote. "It holds promise for growth in both the stationary and transportation energy sectors."

The world will need more hydrogen technology and projects to meet a net-zero emissions scenario by 2050, according to the International Energy Agency.

"Faster action is required on creating demand for low-emission hydrogen and unlocking investment that can accelerate production scale-up and deployment of infrastructure," the agency wrote.

It's also a "uniquely versatile energy carrier," according to a report by the Hydrogen Council. "It can be produced using different energy inputs and different production technologies. It can also be converted to different forms and distributed through different routes — from compressed gas hydrogen in pipelines through liquid hydrogen on ships, trains or trucks, to synthesized fuel routes."

Analysts Expect Larger Contracts in 2024

Jericho reported Q3 results in line with expectations. Atritum Research analysts Nicholas Cortellucci and Ben Pirie wrote in a research report that the company's oil and gas joint venture (JV) posted positive EBITDA based on higher commodity prices. 

The company continues to make advancements through its Hydrogen Technologies unit and minority investments. The analysts expect initial commercial orders in 2023 for the company and potentially larger contracts in 2024 as the hydrogen industry develops, the analysts said. 

Streetwise Ownership Overview*

Jericho Energy Ventures Inc. (JEV:TSX.V; JROOF:OTC; JLM:FSE)

*Share Structure as of 7/27/2023

Cortellucci and Pirie wrote that with progress across both the traditional energy and clean hydrogen businesses, the analysts see Jericho Energy as well positioned to scale and maintained a Buy rating and CA$0.50 per share price target. 

Newsletter writer Clive Maund of wrote for Streetwise Reports that hydrogen "is a fuel of the future" and that Jericho is "moving with the times."

Ownership and Share Structure

Around 35% of Jericho's shares are held by management, insiders, and insider institutional investors, the company said. They include CEO Brian Williamson, who owns 1.25% or about 3.1 million shares; founder Allen William Wilson, who owns 0.79% or about 1.97 million shares; and board member Nicholas Baxter, who owns 0.46%, or about 1.14 million shares, according to Reuters.

Around 10% of shares are held by non-insider institutions, and 65% are in retail, the company said. 

JEV's market cap is CA$51.49 million, and it trades in a 52-week range of CA$0.405 and CA$0.18. It has 248.14 million shares outstanding, 178.38 million of them floating.

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Important Disclosures:

  1. Jericho Energy Ventures Inc. is a billboard sponsor of Streetwise Reports and pays SWR a monthly sponsorship fee between US$4,000 and US$5,000.
  2. As of the date of this article, officers and/or employees of Streetwise Reports LLC (including members of their household) own securities of Jericho Energy Ventures Inc.
  3. Steve Sobek wrote this article for Streetwise Reports LLC and provides services to Streetwise Reports as an employee.
  4. The article does not constitute investment advice. Each reader is encouraged to consult with his or her individual financial professional. By opening this page, each reader accepts and agrees to Streetwise Reports' terms of use and full legal disclaimer. This article is not a solicitation for investment. Streetwise Reports does not render general or specific investment advice and the information on Streetwise Reports should not be considered a recommendation to buy or sell any security. Streetwise Reports does not endorse or recommend the business, products, services or securities of any company mentioned on Streetwise Reports.

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