Ampol-backed hydrogen storage startup Endua secures $7.5m in pre-series funding round

Ampol-backed hydrogen storage startup Endua secures $7.5m in pre-series funding round

Endua founder and CEO Paul Sernia (Provided)

A Brisbane-based energy company looking to commercialise modular hydrogen power banks has secured $7.5 million in a pre-series funding round backed by Ampol, CSIRO’s Main Sequence and the Queensland Investment Corporation (QIC), among others.

Endua’s raise also received support from venture capital firms 77 Partners and Melt Ventures – a Newcastle-based company that also announced today it has secured $10 million for its very first fund.

Launched in 2021 by founder and CEO Paul Sernia, Endua has developed electrolysers – a critical technology for the production of low-emission hydrogen – that split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen through electrolysis by using energy sources like solar power.

That hydrogen is then stored in modular banks, which can preserve the integrity of the chemical for months. 

The company is developing renewables-based hydrogen power units that could be used at mines, farms and residential communities that are not connected to the grid. So far, Endua has managed to create modular hydrogen power banks that can drive power loads of up to 100kW in a single module, which is enough to supply energy for a water pump, farm shed or standalone telecom infrastructure.

The latest raise comes after Endua secured $4.3 million in grants, including the Entrepreneurs’ Programme Accelerating Commercialisation Grant, the Cooperative Research Centres Project (CRC-P) and the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre Grant (AMGC).

“Clean hydrogen will play a crucial role in our transition to renewable energy, but only with the right technology and business models to make it cost-effective,” Sernia said.

“Our solution will allow off-grid industries like agriculture, water and energy utilities and remote infrastructure to run sustainable power any time of day, regional communities to become self-sufficient, and businesses to have more options to source the power they need.”

In 2021, petrol and diesel giant Ampol took a 20 per cent stake in Endua and is a commercial partner for the firm.

“Ampol’s work with Endua is part of our broader strategy to build new energy solutions that can support our customers with energy transition,” Ampol managing director Matthew Halliday said.

“Endua’s technology lays the foundation for off-grid and diesel energy users to meet decarbonisation commitments and become self-sustaining.”

Main Sequence partner Martin Duursma adds he is excited about the potential of Endua and its ambitious plans to drive affordable and reliable renewable energy.

“In the race towards net zero, creating a decarbonised power generation market requires new energy solutions with long-duration storage,” he said.

“Endua is at the forefront of renewable energy innovation, having identified innovative electrolyser technology from Australian research, the company has embarked on its mission to build products that deliver multi-day energy storage solving one of the critical challenges that intermittent renewables bring.”

Melt Ventures secures $10m for first fund

The news of Endua’s raise coincides with venture capital (VC) firm Melt Ventures announcing it has secured $10 million for its very first fund, with backers including Camplify (ASX: CHL) founder Justin Hales, Portt co-CEO Andre Pinkowski, as well as family offices. 

Launched in 2022, the VC focuses on investing in hardware startups and is managed by Slingshot Accelerator founder and Camplify chair Trent Bagnall and angel investor Steph Hinds.

According to research by the firm, of the 106 early-stage funds operating in Australia, the vast majority (103) are dedicated to software startups.

“It’s time to double down on investing in advanced manufacturing in Australia. We strongly believe that when it comes to the energy transition, software will only play a minor role,” Bagnall said.

“This is the first fund helping to build incredible hardware companies that are doing everything from sustainable and thermal energy storage to using hydrogen to replace the need for diesel generators.”

“As a nation, we’re built to support renewable energy like solar and wind. Renewables are now outcompeting coal-fired power, with the Liddell Power station readying to close leaving a 6,000 GWh energy gap. During the day, the transition challenge moves to the night and shoulder periods where the need to store excel renewable energy produced during the day becomes critical to achieving a decarbonised grid.”

The news comes two weeks after the federal government allocated $4 billion in new funding to accelerate Australia’s green hydrogen sector and the electrification of homes and businesses.

The budget commitment includes $1 billion for Clean Energy Finance Corporation to provide green finance for residential home electrification and energy upgrades, including provision for landlords to support rental housing.

It also allocates $300 million in funding to upgrade social housing, $38.2 million for a Guarantee of Origin scheme to certify renewable energy and green hydrogen production, as well as funding for First Nations Community Engagement to cover green hydrogen development.

“We encourage investors to shift their perspective beyond SaaS and focus on investing in advanced manufacturing and hardware,” Hinds said.

“The fund has a minimum 50 per cent impact target and invests in companies that have an industrial-sized impact on the clean energy transition.

“For every $1 million we raise, that’s invested back into one individual company in the engineering, construction, mining, agriculture, technology and energy sectors.”

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