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AEM Electrolysers, Enapter, Co-Founder Vaitea Cowan optimised
Fix Our
2021 Winner

AEM Electrolyser

Area of Impact:
Nominated by:

Too often industry, heating and transport are still powered by fossil fuels. AEM Electrolysers offer an alternative: emission-free green hydrogen.

Their Story

Pacific Islanders, living under the constant threat of rising seas, know the effects of climate change first-hand. Vaitea Cowan, from New Caledonia, an island in the South Pacific, co-founded Enapter in Thailand to turn back the tide. Just three years on, its green hydrogen technology could change the way we power our world.

It arrives at a crucial moment. We have made huge advances in renewable energy, which now accounts for 30% of the mix. But we still need to go further, focusing on the 70% of non-renewable energy that remains: energy that powers industry, heating, transport, and more.

Enapter’s AEM Electrolysers turn renewable electricity into green hydrogen: an emission-free gas with diverse energy applications.

Developed quicker and cheaper than once thought possible, this isn’t the technology of the future – it’s at our fingertips today. Enapter’s electrolysers are already sold in 50 countries. They enable carbon-free ammonia production in the United States, fuel planes in Britain, unlock energy storage in Australia and heat homes in Holland, to name just a few uses.

From an initial team of 11 Enapter is growing rapidly. With offices in Thailand, Italy, Russia and Germany, its team now numbers 250. In late 2022, its newest AEM Electrolyser model, which is lighter and quicker to assemble, goes into production.

By 2030, Enapter plans to use its AEM Electrolysers to eliminate the equivalent of 1.5bn tonnes of carbon. By 2050, it hopes to account for 10% of the world’s hydrogen output. This extraordinary green technology could soon turn the tide on climate change.

As the winning solution in the Fix Our Climate category of the 2021 Earthshot Prize, Enapter’s plans for their new campus in Germany is on track – which will gradually ramp up to a monthly production of 10,000 units. The prize significantly enhanced their profile with features in Fast Company and Bloomberg, and co-founder Vaitea Cowan was invited to deliver a TEDtalk at the 2022 conference. An additional €20M in investment was secured from Johnson Matthey to support the team in R&D efforts.

Their impact so far

Since winning The Earthshot Prize to Fix our Climate in 2021, Enapter have expanded significantly and are now creating impact worldwide.

Use of Prize Money

Enapter’s AEM Electrolyser turns renewable electricity into green hydrogen: a clean burning fuel with zero emissions for vehicles, planes, the power industry and small island communities.

Key Milestones

Since winning The Earthshot Prize, Enapter has completed construction of its mass-production factory in Germany. In 2023 the company sold €31.5m of electrolysers, by far their most successful year to date. During the year the company deployed electrolysers to the hydrogen centre at the University of South Wales, delivered 30 AEM electrolysers to Tokyo Gas, one of Asia’s largest energy suppliers, and signed a contract worth more than $6.5m with Chinese company Wolong.

Environmental and Social Impact

Across 2021 and 2022, the technology has avoided a total of almost 71,000 tonnes of CO2e emissions. The company is creating new green jobs too. As of July 2023, it has delivered 3,700 electrolysers to 352 customers in 54 countries. Over their lifetime, the electrolysers and stacks delivered so far will avoid an estimated 96,157 tonnes of CO2e.

Connections Made

Bloomberg has worked with Enapter on multiple occasions, including featuring the organisation on Bloomberg TV numerous times and providing support through BloombergNEF. This helped the company address potential investors.

Arup, meanwhile, undertook a technical review of its fuel cell design with recommendations for future improvement and developed its tender documents to attract more clients and increase bid winning prospects, an estimated £15,000 worth of pro bono support.

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Other 2021 Fix Our Climate Finalists

The Earthshot Prize