Elogen awarded EUR 12 million in InnovFin support
The European Investment Bank (EIB) has signed a EUR 12 million quasi-equity loan facility with Estonian solid oxide fuel cell developer Elcogen AS. The loan is the first in the Baltic countries to get support under the InnovFin – EU-finance for innovators programme, which is financed from the EU’s Horizon 2020 (H2020) research and innovation programme. Specifically, the financing falls under InnovFin’s Energy Demonstration Projects (EDP) facility.
InnovFin Energy Demonstration Projects provides loans, loan guarantees or equity-type financing typically between EUR 7.5 million and EUR 75 million to innovative demonstration projects in the fields of energy system transformation, including renewable energy technologies, smart energy systems, energy storage, carbon capture and storage/use, and hydrogen and fuel cells, helping them to bridge the gap from demonstration to commercialisation.
Demonstration production plant
The facility is implemented directly by the EIB and has been established under Horizon 2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (2014-2020). The goal of the Elogen financing is to aid in the set-up of a demonstration manufacturing plant for cells and stacks used in solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) systems, creating highly skilled local jobs in the process.
The financing enables the company to invest in the research and development of fuel cells, to increase production volumes and to start its mass-manufacturing processes. This provides Elcogen with the opportunity to bring competitive fuel cell-based electricity and hydrogen solutions to the mass market and meet the growing demand from customers, including leading industrial companies in both Europe and Asia.
This project is the result of years of extensive research, both internally and in collaboration with leading universities and institutes. Elcogen has managed to come up with one of the most efficient fuel cell technologies around, and I think it’s only logical that the EIB and InnovFin should support such European innovators – to keep and support this know-how within the European innovation ecosystem, commented Alexander Stubb, Vice president EIB.
Produce 50 MW SOFC annually
At completion, the Elcogen plans to manufacture approximately 2 million cells per year, accounting for an electrical capacity of 50 MW. The fuel cell technology that Elcogen has developed converts a range of fuels, mainly hydrogen and biogas, into electrical energy with a very high electrical efficiency compared to other commercially available fuel cells.
We have proven to our customers that fuel cells developed in Estonia, in cooperation with leading European research institutes, are the most efficient in the world. The EIB loan is an important milestone in bringing our technology to the mass market. In three years’ time we see ourselves as the world’s leading producer of fuel cells, because this is the only way that our customers will be able to provide affordable and innovative energy solutions to end users, said Enn Õunpuu, CEO, Elogen.
Elcogen’s patented technology has the potential to become less expensive than competing technologies as it uses standard processes and widely available materials in cell manufacturing. Key applications for the systems using this type of fuel cell technology are residential power generation systems, industrial power generation units, and further off-grid power generation.
This deal with Elcogen is a good example to show that the future of innovation is science-based. We are now making headway in the transition to a resource-efficient and climate-resilient future and we need to bring more ideas like these to market with the help of EU funding, remarked Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science, and Innovation.
Founded in 2001, Elcogen is an Estonian manufacturer of solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC). The company has developed the next generation of fuel cells, delivering what is says is the market’s most efficient solid oxide cell technology suitable for electrolysis and fuel cell operation, while also solving key issues around cost, scale and lifetimes.
Prior to this EIB loan, Elcogen had already raised EUR 18 million from private investors and public funds. In addition to the EIB loan, Elcogen intends to continue to raise equity capital from new and existing investors in the near future.