Ionomr Innovations Inc., developer and manufacturer of foundational polymer and membrane technologies for next-generation hydrogen applications, has closed a US$20-million Series A-4 funding round with returning lead investors NGIF Cleantech Ventures and Pallasite Ventures supported by Shell Ventures, Chevron Technology Ventures and Finindus, and joined by N.V. Bekaert, Asahi Kasei, Samsung Ventures and SAIC Capital. (Earlier post.)
The funding will allow Ionomr to scale its ion exchange membranes and polymers, Aemion (Anion Exchange Membrane) and Pemion (Proton Exchange Membrane), that are fundamental to accelerating the hydrogen economy—from production of hydrogen gas and chemicals through electrolysis to efficient use of hydrogen in fuel cells.
Ionomr says that its materials can make more efficient, cost-competitive solutions possible, including eliminating expensive precious metal requirements from hydrogen production, CO2 electrolysis and supporting higher-temperature fuel cell solutions.
Ionomr’s ion exchange membranes are made from fully hydrocarbon polymers, resulting in materials that do not detrimentally affect the environment. Today, the most widely-used membranes are perfluorinated (‘per’ means maximum capacity in chemistry—so perfluorinated is ‘as fluorinated as possible’). Fluorinated materials are non-recyclable and generate significant amounts of bio-accumulative toxic waste, which have a long-term negative effect on human health.
Conversely, Ionomr’s hydrocarbon materials are recyclable and have minimal environmental impact. Until now, they have seen limited adoption in the clean tech industry due to mechanical and chemical deficiencies; Ionomr says it has overcome these limitations and is now commercializing a broad family of hydrocarbon-based ion exchange membrane materials.
Leveraging technology developed at Simon Fraser University, Ionomr was founded in 2018 and employs 51 professionals in Vancouver, Canada and Rochester, New York.
In 2010, Asahi Kasei began developing an alkaline water electrolyzer for hydrogen production leveraging its decades of experience in membrane process electrolysis and has been participating in several projects globally. As part of a NEDO project, Asahi Kasei supplied a 10MW-scale alkaline water electrolyzer to the Fukushima Hydrogen Energy Research Field (FH2R) and has been operating it since 2020. The company is accelerating its development and demonstration activities toward commercialization in 2025.
By sharing its unmatched expertise in the field of membrane technology with Ionomr, Asahi Kasei expects to help to raise the performance of Ionomr’s AEM products.