Asemblon Raises $2.9M To Make Hydrogen Fuel Cheaper Than Gas

4/22/09Follow @xconomy

[[Update with Buddy Ratner comment, 7 am Pacific]] Asemblon, a Redmond, WA-based developer of technology for storing hydrogen fuel, has raised $2.9 million in the first installment of a Series C financing round, Xconomy has learned.

The investment is being led by RAB Capital, a London-based hedge fund, and Sojitz Trading of Japan, says Asemblon CEO Pat Quarles. Asemblon’s goal is to raise a total of $6.5 million in this round, he says. The company has now raised about $11 million since it was founded in 2005.

“This will enable us to get a full pilot scale facility up and running for our technology,” Quarles says.

Hydrogen as fuel has long been a dream of researchers because of its abundance in nature, and its ability to be turned into a clean, renewable fuel. But it has long been plagued by huge infrastructure investments needed for high-pressure tanks, new filling stations, and costly transportation in a cold, liquid form. Asemblon doesn’t plan to make any of those huge investments itself, but rather it has patented technology for a family of organic carrier molecules that can release hydrogen on demand. The technology, called Hydrnol, is supposed to make hydrogen practical by enabling it to be stored at room temperature, and without high pressure, so people could carry it around in containers or ship it on pipelines or trucks like gasoline.

Asemblon, which has about 30 employees, plans to use the money to build a pilot-scale facility in Minot, ND, which will allow the firm to produce about 10,000 gallons a day of Hydrnol, Quarles says. The company isn’t planning to add staff at the moment, although it expects to grow with additional financing, he says. The company is planning to move offices to Bellevue, WA, in the next 90 days, he says.

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