Funding Bolsters Verne’s Plan for HD Vehicles to Store Hydrogen on Board


Hydrogen storage system developer Verne will receive new funding that should enable it to accelerate development of its cryo-compressed hydrogen (CcH2) technology for on-board hydrogen storage for heavy-duty vehicles.

A strategic fundraising was led by Trucks Venture Capital with participation from existing investors Collaborative Fund and Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund, and new investors United Airlines Ventures Sustainable Flight Fund and Newlab.

The investment brings Verne’s total funding to $15.5 million including grant funding.

Heavy-duty transportation is responsible for 12% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Regulations such as California’s Advanced Clean Fleets and corporate “net zero” commitments necessitate a transition to zero-emission vehicles. However, large energy requirements and the importance of total cost of ownership make it difficult for fleets to transition from diesel to zero-emission technologies.

Class 8 battery electric trucks provide limited range (about 200 miles versus 1,000 miles for a diesel truck), weigh 5,000–10,000 pounds more than a diesel truck (reducing payload available to haul cargo by 5% to 15%) and take over two hours to refuel.

Hydrogen is a better solution to decarbonize vehicles that travel long distances or carry a heavy payload as it provides range, weight and refueling advantages over battery electric trucks. But current hydrogen trucks still fall short of diesel truck performance.

Since its founding in 2020, Verne has been dedicated to solving this challenge by developing high-density hydrogen storage that allows these vehicles to reach diesel-equivalent range and payload.

Its cryo-compressed hydrogen technology involves cooling and compressing hydrogen to achieve the maximum hydrogen density at 73 g/L internal density, a 33% improvement over liquid hydrogen and an 87% improvement over traditional 700-bar compressed gas hydrogen. The increased density leads to greater range and payload: Verne’s technology enables semi-trucks to achieve diesel-equivalent range, or over 900 miles, without adding any weight to the system.

“Verne’s technology will have a direct positive impact on commercial vehicles on road and in the air,” says Jeffrey Schox, general partner at Trucks Venture Capital. “High-density hydrogen is a powerful solution for large vehicles and aligns with our mission of backing the most aggressive climate-positive ideas for transportation.”

“Heavy-duty vehicles like semi-trucks and cargo handling equipment are vital to the functioning of our economy, but they are also some of the worst polluters,” adds Ted McKlveen, Verne’s co-founder and CEO. “Verne is motivated to provide zero-emission solutions that don’t require these critical industries to make costly performance trade-offs.”

In 2023, Verne reported a CcH2 storage record during stationary demonstration of a 29-kg storage tank at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Verne also completed the first testing of its CcH2 storage system on board a vehicle as part of its participation in the Breakthrough Energy Fellows program. This on-vehicle testing validated the performance of all sub-systems — including direct integration with the vehicles’ fuel cell — and confirmed the improved hydrogen density relative to the standard 700-bar compressed gas hydrogen storage method.

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