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Baker Hughes invests in synthetic natural gas startup

As part of the investment, the company will acquire a 15% stake in the startup Electrochaea, which the company said will enhance its broader carbon capture and utilization portfolio

Baker Hughes invests in synthetic natural gas startup

Baker Hughes is investing in a startup focused on the production of natural gas from hydrogen and CO₂, known as synthetic natural gas (SNG), marking the company’s latest move in the energy transition space.

As part of the investment, Baker Hughes will acquire a 15% stake in the startup, Electrochaea GmbH, which the company said will enhance its broader carbon capture and utilization (CCU) portfolio.
Financial terms of the transaction weren’t disclosed.

Rod Christie, executive VP of turbomachinery & process solutions at Baker Hughes, said:
  • This agreement is another deliberate step in our strategy to position Baker Hughes for new energy frontiers like CCU by investing in emerging technologies and combining them with our own proven capabilities
  • Through its investment, Baker Hughes will help accelerate the scale up and industrialization of Electrochaea’s technology, which, once commercialized, will provide solutions that can effectively decarbonize a range of industries
  • The combination of these technologies provides an integrated method to decarbonize hard to abate sectors such as road transportation and heating
In recent years, Baker Hughes has positioned itself as an energy technology company in a push to lead the energy transition.
The strategic shift has included bolstering its portfolio offering of carbon capture and other decarbonization technologies, similar to its investment in Electrochaea.

Headquartered in Germany, Electrochaea is developing novel proprietary bio-methanation technology to produce SNG from green hydrogen and CO₂, which, according to the company release, can come from a variety of sources, such as biogas, fermentation off-gas or captured from single point emitters such as power and industrial plants.

In turn, SNG can be used for low-carbon heating, transport and industrial applications.
In addition, once SNG is injected into existing natural gas pipelines, it can be used as a form of energy storage, the company release said.

Baker Hughes will draw from its portfolio of carbon capture technologies, including its Compact Carbon Capture design, to provide integrated solutions tailored to specific applications utilizing both CO₂ sources with biogenic origin, such as biomass and waste-to-energy plants, as well as sources based on combustion of fossil fuels, such as industrial plants.

Mich Hein, CEO of Electrochaea, noted:
  • Delivering synthetic natural gas at grid scale would be a remarkable development for energy consumers
  • By combining Baker Hughes’ carbon capture technology process with biomethanation, customers could potentially deploy large scale plants to reduce the carbon impact of existing gas infrastructure
Along with the lead investor Baker Hughes, the existing investors MVP, Storengy (an ENGIE subsidiary), KfW, Caliza, Focus First, Energie 360° and btov also participated in Electrocheaea’s latest financing round.
As part of its investment, Baker Hughes will also assume a seat on Electrochaea’s board of directors.