Versogen to Receive Federal Funds for Hydrogen Research



NEWARK– Versogen, a startup based in Newark, has secured a share of $4.7 million in federal funds aimed at advancing clean hydrogen production.


The company is collaborating with prestigious academic and industry partners to develop innovative anion-exchange membranes, which are crucial for making hydrogen production more affordable.


Versogen Receives Federal Funding to Boost Clean Hydrogen Production in Newark


Versogen, a Newark-based startup, is part of a broader regional initiative to develop carbon-free hydrogen fuel sources, having been selected to receive a portion of $4.7 million from the U.S. Department of Energy. This funding is part of a national effort, involving several Delaware institutions, to research, produce, and distribute clean hydrogen.


The startup is collaborating with the University of Delaware, University of California Berkeley, De Nora Technologies North America, and the University of Oregon to develop a more durable and cost-effective anion-exchange membrane. This initiative is part of the Mid-Atlantic Clean Hydrogen Hub (MACH2) and aims to compete for a share of the $750 million allocated for clean hydrogen projects announced by the federal government last October.


Versogen’s innovative technology includes membranes that avoid using expensive platinum-group metal catalysts, significantly reducing the cost of hydrogen production. The company’s Chief Technology Officer, Balsu Lakshmanan, emphasized the practical applications of their research, “We can’t expect UD or other universities to go and build devices in the 1 kilowatt to 1 megawatt scale. Versogen is set up to do that scale, and we definitely want to take that fundamental technology, prove that it works and then increase the power level.”


In March, Delaware institutions and their partners were awarded a total of $60 million, with Versogen playing a crucial role in advancing the hydrogen initiative. The company, which originated from research by UD professor Yushan Yan, is also a beneficiary of a $3.4 million research grant from the U.S. Department of Energy and $14 million in Series A fundraising last year.


Versogen‘s work focuses on perfecting a polymer membrane using nickel or silver, which is essential for efficiently splitting water molecules through electrolysis. This advancement has propelled the firm’s commercialization timeline forward. Lakshmanan shared insights into the collaborative efforts, “There’s two things you can change: the solids in the metal in the electrons or the polymer. Any changes made by the polymer will be done by UD, and any changes to the metal will be done by De Nora. We have to match it and make sure it has the intended outcome.”


The company has recently increased its workforce, adding 25 new jobs, and is actively scaling up its technology to build larger membrane units and electrolyzer systems. The immediate goal is to build and test a one-megawatt stack within the next year, aiming to significantly boost the power output from the current 10-kilowatt stack.


As negotiations with the U.S. Department of Energy finalize, Versogen is poised to sign a sub-contract once UC Berkeley finalizes the primary contract, setting the stage for a significant advancement in clean hydrogen production and establishing Newark, and by extension Delaware, as a key player in the renewable energy sector.




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