Freeths advises Centrica on investment in break-through hydrogen production technology

Freeths corporate team has advised its client, Centrica plc, on the acquisition of a minority stake in HiiROC Limited (“HiiROC”), the hydrogen production technology company helping to combat climate change with affordable hydrogen produced at scale but without CO2 emissions.

Centrica together with Melrose Industries, HydrogenOne, Centrica, Hyundai, and Kia, who all join existing strategic investors Wintershall Dea and VNG, have helped HiiROC raise c. £26 million.

HiiROC’s technology produces zero CO2 “turquoise hydrogen” at a comparable cost to steam methane reforming but without the emissions and using only one fifth of the energy required by water electrolysis. The solid carbon byproduct, carbon black, has applications ranging from tyres, building materials and as a soil enhancer, leading to a circular economy and sustainability of hydrogen production. The HiiROC technology can be placed where hydrogen is needed, thereby using existing infrastructure and avoiding storage and transport costs. HiiROC has strong growth potential right across the hydrogen economy from grid injection and electricity generation to decarbonising industry by replacing natural gas, flare mitigation and synthetic fuels.

HiiROC will use the funding to accelerate technical development, broadening its application into areas such as low carbon synthetic fuels and mitigating gas flaring/venting to help meet global methane emission reduction goals announced at COP26. Initial projects include the 400kg/day hydrogen facility in Germany, recently announced by Wintershall Dea and VNG, as well as at EPi’s biomethane pilot plant in Chelmsford, and with Northern Gas Networks as part of its hydrogen programme.

Greg McKenna, Managing Director of Centrica Business Solutions, says "There remains a great deal of work to be done to make hydrogen affordable, sustainable and available at scale, but HiiROC’s technology demonstrates that this can be achieved sooner rather than later."

Malin Svanberg Larsson, who led the Freeths Corporate team advising Centrica on the investment, remarked “We’re delighted to have advised Centrica on this strategic investment. We’ve enjoyed working with Greg and his team in delivering a successful transaction and look forward to seeing the partnership between Centrica and HiiROC develop and grow significantly over the coming years”.

Centrica were advised by Freeths (legal), led by Malin Svanberg Larsson.  HiiROC were advised by Cripps Pemberton Greenish (legal), led by Eoin Broderick.

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