C-Zero closes $34 million financing round led by SK Gas to build pilot natural gas decarbonization plant
Santa Barbara, California, 16 June 2022 - C-Zero Inc., a clean energy company that has developed a technology for natural gas decarbonization, announced today that it has closed a $34 million dollar financing round led by SK Gas, a subsidiary of South Korea’s second-largest conglomerate, the SK Group. SK Gas was joined by two other new investors - Engie New Ventures and Trafigura, one of the world’s largest physical commodities trading companies - in addition to participation from all existing investors including Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Eni Next, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and AP Ventures.
The funding will be used to build C-Zero’s first pilot plant, which is expected to be online in Q1 2023. The plant will be capable of producing up to 400kg of hydrogen per day from natural gas with no CO2 emissions.
“We are excited to be scaling up our innovative technology with experienced investors and partners who recognize the need to decarbonize natural gas and the opportunity that turquoise hydrogen production represents,” said Eric McFarland, CTO of C-Zero. “Natural gas provides a quarter of the world’s energy, so the scale of the opportunity ahead of us is enormous. But we cannot do it alone.”
“We are eager to bring C-Zero’s technology to Korea, where we see great synergies with our plans to build a hydrogen value chain complex in Ulsan,” said Brian (Byung Suk) Yoon, CEO of SK Gas. “SK Gas strongly believes in the potential of methane pyrolysis and its ability to help countries like Korea in their decarbonization efforts by producing low-cost, clean hydrogen.”
“We see significant applications for low-carbon hydrogen production through methane pyrolysis which complement ENGIE’s existing activities and skill sets. Investing early on in C-Zero’s journey brings us familiarity with the technology, and could help ENGIE achieve its goal of Net Zero by 2045,” said Johann Boukhors, Managing Director of ENGIE New Ventures.
“Trafigura is backing C-Zero as part of a series of investments in clean energy technologies, including low-carbon fuels needed for the energy transition. C-Zero is reaching a critical stage with the construction of its first pilot plant to successfully demonstrate the production of low-carbon hydrogen from natural gas,” said Julien Rolland, Head of Power and Renewables for Trafigura.
Notes to editors
C-Zero is commercializing a proprietary process for transforming natural gas into clean hydrogen and a solid carbon co-product.
About SK Gas
SK Gas has the vision to become the Net Zero Solution Provider for customers by providing low-carbon solutions like LNG and LPG, and zero-carbon solutions such as clean hydrogen and ammonia. SK Gas is the no.1 player in the Korean LPG market, and is the leader in LPG global trading. Recently SK Gas expanded its portfolio to LNG by building a LNG terminal, a LNG/LPG dual fuel power plant and a LNG marketing business. The LNG terminal and power plant are expected to operate from 2024. SK Gas plans to leverage its LNG/LPG assets and capabilities to grow a successful clean hydrogen and ammonia business targeting power generation, industrial and mobility sectors.
Our group is a global reference in low-carbon energy and services. Together with our 170,000 employees, our customers, partners and stakeholders, we are committed to accelerate the transition towards a carbon-neutral world, through reduced energy consumption and more environmentally friendly solutions. Inspired by our purpose (“raison d’être”), we reconcile economic performance with a positive impact on people and the planet, building on our key businesses (gas, renewable energy, services) to offer competitive solutions to our customers. Turnover in 2021: 57.9 billion Euros. The Group is listed on the Paris and Brussels stock exchanges (ENGI) and is represented in the main financial indices (CAC 40, Euronext 100, FTSE Eurotop 100, MSCI Europe) and non-financial indices (DJSI World, DJSI Europe, Euronext Vigeo Eiris - Eurozone 120/ Europe 120/ France 20, MSCI EMU ESG screened, MSCI EUROPE ESG Universal Select, Stoxx Europe 600 ESG, and Stoxx Global 1800 ESG).
About Engie New Venture
ENGIE New Ventures (ENV) is the investment fund of ENGIE, Research & Innovation division, dedicated to innovative climate technology startups and the corporate venture capital arm of ENGIE, the global energy and services provider. ENGIE is committed to lead the energy revolution, towards a more decarbonized, decentralized, and digitized world. ENV makes minority investments in innovative start-ups bringing strategic value to the Group with a focus on both the current ecosystem and on future breakthrough technologies. Since 2014, investments have been made in more than 45 solutions in the cleantech sector. Investment thesis is now focused in particular on renewables, energy efficiency solutions and flexibility, green gasses including hydrogen. ENV’s offices are represented in Paris, San Francisco, Singapore, Santiago and Tel Aviv.
Founded in 1993, Trafigura is one of the largest physical commodities trading groups in the world. At the heart of global supply, Trafigura connects the world with the vital resources it needs. Through our Oil & Petroleum Products, Metals & Minerals, and Power & Renewables divisions, we deploy infrastructure, skills, and a global network to move commodities from where they are plentiful to where they are needed most, forming strong relationships that make supply chains more efficient, secure, and sustainable.
Trafigura also owns and operates a number of industrial assets including a majority share of global multi-metals producer Nyrstar and fuel storage and distribution company Puma Energy, and joint ventures Impala Terminals, a port and logistics provider, and Nala Renewables, a power and renewable energy investment and development platform. Trafigura is owned by its employees and employs over 13,000 people working in 48 countries.