As Hydrogen Emerges As a Clean Energy Option, H2scan Raises $70 Million

David Shultz

David Shultz reports on clean technology and electric vehicles, among other industries, for dot.LA. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Outside, Nautilus and many other publications.

As Hydrogen Emerges As a Clean Energy Option, H2scan Raises $70 Million
Photo by Andrea Leopardi on Unsplash

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Hydrogen is having a moment in Southern California. The first element on the periodic table is rapidly emerging as a green alternative to natural gas. But for every hydrogen battery, electrolyzer or pipeline being proposed, a sensor is required: Hydrogen gas, as you may remember from high school chemistry class, is extremely flammable.


For H2scan, there’s big money in not blowing stuff up en route to a greener economy. On Tuesday, the Valencia-based hydrogen sensor company unveiled a $70 million capital raise that will be used to develop its technology, expand its manufacturing and bolster its sales and marketing operations. U.K.-based investment group LetterOne led the funding alongside South Korean energy company GS Energy. (H2scan also announced David Meyers, a former executive at engineering consulting firm Altran, as its new chief operating officer on Tuesday.)

H2scan’s sensors consist of a palladium-nickel crystal lattice that traps individual hydrogen molecules; when hydrogen binds to the palladium, it causes the electrical resistance of the lattice to change. With the help of algorithms, that change in resistance can be used to calculate exactly how much hydrogen is moving through the sensor—and whether it’s approaching dangerous levels.

“Because of our patented technology, where it's lower cost and more reliable and more accurate, we feel that puts us in a prime position to be the number one go-to—the golden standard for hydrogen sensing in the world,” H2scan founder, president and CEO Dennis Reid told dot.LA. “The bottom line is we want to be in every pipeline, we want to be in every electrolyzer and we want to be in every home. And we feel that we now definitely have the capital to get there.”

Founded in 2002, the company went to market with its hydrogen sensors in 2012 and has since deployed more than 20,000 units for applications including petrochemical refineries, nuclear facilities, semiconductor manufacturing, plastics production and food sciences. (H2scan’s customers include ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron, Procter & Gamble, Siemens and ABB.) Reid is quick to note that they’ve never had a single sensor fail.

One growing area that will certainly need quality hydrogen sensors in the future is pipelines. Last week, Southern California’s primary gas utility, SoCalGas, revealed its plans for a hydrogen pipeline system as part of its goal to fully decarbonize its operations by 2045.

As energy companies increasingly turn to hydrogen, “There will be new safety requirements for avoiding an accident, because the hydrogen will very likely be mixed with some other gasses to avoid risky situations,” according to Jerzy Szpunar, a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Saskatchewan who studies hydrogen generation and storage.

Reid says that H2scan’s sensors are particularly well-suited for pipeline applications due to their ability to pick out hydrogen molecules against a background of other compounds. In addition to expanding its production facility in Valencia, H2scan will also use the new funding to reduce the manufacturing cost of its sensors by consolidating many of the supporting electronics into a dedicated circuit—a move that could bring the price per sensor down from around $9,000 to just $2,000 for some applications.

Making hydrogen power more affordable is key to California’s transition to clean energy, and H2scan wants to be at the center of the conversation, according to Reid. “We want to take our core technology and then create a product for every single application within the hydrogen economy,” he said.

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Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

When avatar startup Genies raised $150 million in April, the company released an unusual message to the public: “Farewell.”

The Marina del Rey-based unicorn, which makes cartoon-like avatars for celebrities and aims to “build an avatar for every single person on Earth,” didn’t go under. Rather, Genies announced it would stay quiet for a while to focus on building avatar-creation products.

Genies representatives told dot.LA that the firm is now seeking more creators to try its creation tools for 3D avatars, digital fashion items and virtual experiences. On Thursday, the startup launched a three-week program called DIY Collective, which will mentor and financially support up-and-coming creatives.

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Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

LA Tech Week—a weeklong showcase of the region’s growing startup ecosystem—is coming this August.

The seven-day series of events, from Aug. 15 through Aug. 21, is a chance for the Los Angeles startup community to network, share insights and pitch themselves to investors. It comes a year after hundreds of people gathered for a similar event that allowed the L.A. tech community—often in the shadow of Silicon Valley—to flex its muscles.

From fireside chats with prominent founders to a panel on aerospace, here are some highlights from the roughly 30 events happening during LA Tech Week, including one hosted by dot.LA.

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AmazeVR Wants You To Attend K-Pop Concerts Virtually

Kristin Snyder

Kristin Snyder is an editorial intern for dot.la. She previously interned with Tiger Oak Media and led the arts section for UCLA's Daily Bruin.

AmazeVR Wants You To Attend K-Pop Concerts Virtually
Photo courtesy of AmazeVR

Virtual reality startup AmazeVR now has $17 million to further expand its VR concert experience.

The West Hollywood-based company’s latest funding amounts to a bet that virtual shows, a staple of the pandemic, are here to stay. Mirae Asset Capital led the Series B funding round, with Mirae Asset Financial Group subsidiary (Mirae Asset Venture Investment), CJ Investment, Smilegate Investment, GS Futures and LG Technology Ventures investing again. Mobile game maker Krafton joined the group—but South Korean entertainment company CJ ENM’s stake reveals AmazeVR’s plans to expand into K-pop world.

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