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

AEM Electrolyser

Thailand / Germany / Italy
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.

Other Finalists in Fix Our Climate

Learn About the Earthshots

and Restore

By 2030, we choose to ensure that, for the first time in human history, the natural world is growing – not shrinking – on our planet. 

This Earthshot focuses on three main areas of interest: 

  1. Protecting areas of high biodiversity such as forests, wetland, peatlands and wildlife corridors
  2. Restoring damaged ecosystems
  3. Feeding people while protecting nature
Learn more about this Earthshot

Clean Our

By 2030 we choose to ensure that everyone in the world breathes clean, healthy air – at World Health Organization standard or better. 

This Earthshot focuses on three main areas of interest: 

  1. Engaging citizens in data collection and clean air policies
  2. Preventing the burning of fields, forests and waste
  3. Transitioning to clean transportation for all
Learn more about this Earthshot

Revive Our

By 2030, we choose to repair and preserve our oceans for future generations. 

This Earthshot focuses on three main areas of interest: 

  1. Protecting and restoring coastal ecosystems
  2. Replenishing fish populations
  3. Reducing demand for fishmeal
Learn more about this Earthshot

Build a

By 2030, we choose to build a world where nothing goes to waste, where the leftovers of one process become the raw materials of the next – just like they do in nature. 

This Earthshot focuses on three main areas of interest: 

  1. Reducing food loss from farm to fork
  2. Phasing out single-use and non-recycled plastics
  3. High-value circularity in fashion and electronics
Learn more about this Earthshot

Fix Our

We choose to fix the world’s climate by cutting out carbon: building a carbon neutral economy that lets every culture, community and country thrive. 

This Earthshot focuses on three main areas of interest: 

  1. Creating an equitable clean energy future
  2. Addressing non-CO2 greenhouse gas emissions
  3. Decarbonising hard to abate sectors
Learn more about this Earthshot
The Earthshot Prize