Lena McEachern | Joules Accelerator | May 12, 2023
Alex Zorniger has always had an entrepreneurial streak. His first job was at a startup, and ever since then, innovation has been a constant theme in his career.
“I have always enjoyed the fast pace and multiple hats at a startup,” Zorniger said. “Every day is different, so it’s a constant intellectual challenge to be able to learn new territories.”
It makes sense then that Zorniger’s current role is the Vice President of Business Development at Power to Hydrogen (Joules Cohort 11), a seed-funded clean tech startup focused on creating hardware to reduce the cost of clean hydrogen.
According to Zorniger, Power to Hydrogen’s systems make sense for industrial companies reliant on natural gas, companies looking to decarbonize their long-distance transportation, and companies looking to create clean long-term energy storage.
“I think we’re a great opportunity,” Zorniger said, explaining that hydrogen is “a disruption event for the entire oil and gas industry.”
In collaboration with Enel Green Power, Power to Hydrogen recently had their first paid pilot, showing their hardware’s ability in the field. The team also recently signed their first pilot for a larger industrial-scale system in collaboration with global utilities including American Electric Power (U.S.), EDP (Portugal), E.ON (Germany), ESB (Ireland).
“That’s what we’re trying to do — decarbonize on an industrial scale and tackle the gigatons of CO2 emitted by the industries that we rely upon,” Zorniger said.
As an electrolyzer company, Power to Hydrogen has faced many obstacles not uncommon to hardware startups - cautious investors, long deployment timelines, and inherent project capital risk.
“You really need to be able to raise significant amounts of capital,” Zorniger explained. “It’s a little bit more of a high-risk high-reward area of climate tech and startup investing.”
Despite this, Zorniger views hardware investments as a unique opportunity given the world’s current large-scale transition to renewable energy. Transitioning to renewables will require an at-scale remaking of regional, national, and global infrastructures.
“I don’t know of a bigger economic opportunity than what we’re facing today where we need to figure out a new way to produce most of the physical items that make up and power our world," Zorniger said. “Hardware’s going to be the only way that those changes happen.”
Zorniger views joining Joules Accelerator’s Cohort 11 as an opportunity to find potential pilots and partners that are interested in deploying clean hydrogen solutions. Any prospective customers interested in decarbonization through clean hydrogen should contact Zorniger at email@example.com.
“I think Joules has a lot of really strong partners in that area for us to continue to find pilots and partners that are interested in deploying clean hydrogen solutions,” Zorniger said. “There’s huge economic opportunities for all the hardware companies that Joules supports.”
Joules Accelerator is searching for our next cohort of climate technology startups to join our 90-day accelerator program! Are you or someone you know a good fit? Visit joulesaccelerator.com/apply for more information.