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Verne closes strategic fundraise to accelerate the development of high-density H2 storage

Verne announced a strategic fundraise 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 new funding will enable Verne to accelerate development of their cryo-compressed H2 (CcH2) technology for on-board H2 storage for heavy-duty vehicles. The investment brings Verne’s total funding to $15.5 MM 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 that currently involve costly performance tradeoffs.

Existing Class 8 Battery Electric trucks provide limited range (~200 miles vs. 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%-15%), and take over two hours to refuel. H2 is the best solution to decarbonize vehicles that need to travel long distances or carry a heavy payload as it provides range, weight, and refueling advantages over battery electric trucks, but current H2 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 H2 storage that allows these vehicles to reach diesel-equivalent range and payload. Verne’s cryo-compressed H2 technology involves cooling and compressing H2 to achieve the maximum H2 density at 73 g/L internal density, a 33% improvement over liquid H2 and an 87% improvement over traditional 700 bar compressed gas H2. 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. High-density H2 is a powerful solution for large vehicles and aligns with our mission of backing the most aggressive climate-positive ideas for transportation,” said Jeffrey Schox, General Partner at Trucks Venture Capital.

“Amazon views cryo-compression as a promising H2 storage solution,” said Nick Ellis, a Principal at Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund. “We believe cryo-compression can provide economic and operational advantages that will play an important role in the transition to zero-emission fleets.”

“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. Verne is motivated to provide zero-emission solutions that don’t require these critical industries to make costly performance trade-offs,” said Ted McKlveen, Co-founder & CEO of Verne. “Bringing on new strategic investors, and strengthening our partnership with existing investors, will help us accelerate our path to market and decarbonize this critical industry.”

Last year, Verne announced a CcH2 storage record during a stationary demonstration of a 29 kg storage tank at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Verne also completed the first testing of their CcH2 storage system on-board a vehicle as part of their 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 H2 density relative to the standard 700 bar compressed gas H2 storage method. These technical results prepare Verne to meet the significant commercial interest they are receiving from key trucking fleets and OEMs, as well as leading partners across aviation, ports, mining and H2 distribution and refueling.