Barclays invests in green hydrogen energy firm, Protium
Protium is a green hydrogen energy company that provides end-to-end net zero energy solutions for specific end customers with net zero ambitions. It does this by designing, developing, financing, owning, and operating green hydrogen and renewable energy infrastructure assets. By packaging multiple infrastructure assets together, Protium can support its clients to decarbonise their heat, power, and transportation requirements through a commercial structure called a HESCOTM.
Protium has also secured £40.5 million investment in its latest funding round led by SWEN Capital Partners, through its SWIFT 2 fund. The funding round is the largest funding secured for a pure play green hydrogen energy company in the UK to date.
Protium is one of fewer than ten global green hydrogen energy companies who have secured institutional funding over £20mn. The company is now the best-resourced green hydrogen energy company in the UK, and uniquely poised to play a critical role in building the decentralised infrastructure critical to decarbonise the UK economy and meet the goal of achieving Net Zero by 2050.
This funding will allow Protium to accelerate its growing portfolio of >250MW of green hydrogen projects, including its flagship project in Magor South Wales with Budweiser and its 40MW green hydrogen project in Teesside, through planning, engineering and permitting. Protium intends to significantly scale-up its teams regionally throughout the UK and also across Europe.
This round will also support the development of Protium’s in-house digital capabilities including its digital twin and energy system optimisation expertise, as well as enhancing its project and operational efficiency systems.
Lead investor SWEN is the market leader in supporting green gas projects and developers. Its SWIFT 2 fund (SWEN Impact Fund for Transition 2) is an infrastructure fund dedicated to renewable gas and circular economy initiatives.
New Board and Advisory Board appointments
Additionally, Protium has made two new board appointments as part of the raise:
- Olivier Aubert, Managing Director at SWEN Capital Partners – Olivier has over 24 years’ experience in the energy sector, having worked at companies including EDF, Gaz de France, ENGIE and GRTgaz.
- Steven Poulter, Head of Principal Structuring and Investments at Barclays– Steven leads the division of Barclays that makes strategic equity investments and helps entrepreneurial companies grow.
Ahead of the funding round, Protium also appointed Claire Perry O’Neill to its advisory board. Claire was the UK Government Minister responsible for Energy and Clean Growth until 2020. Claire’s parliamentary achievements including writing and implementing the UK’s Clean Growth and Green Finance Strategies and deploying £200mn of cleantech funding. In 2019 she brought forward the country’s ground-breaking Net Zero legislation and led the UK’s winning bid to host the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26).
Commenting on the announcement, Chris Jackson, CEO and Founder of Protium, said: “Preventing catastrophic climate change is the greatest challenge society faces today. We are attempting to perform the fastest energy sector transformation in known economic history, which requires unprecedented speed, support and collaboration.
“The expertise and resources provided by SWEN and Barclays will help to accelerate the deployment of green hydrogen infrastructure and enable our partners to achieve their net zero goals faster. It is also a vote of confidence for green hydrogen, which we hope will catalyse other business and investors to push forward with us towards a cleaner, more sustainable future.
“Our funding is a small step towards the UN’s target of $5 trillion a year for climate financing, but one that we hope will catalyse others to follow to make the net zero ambitions of companies, societies and government, a reality.”
Olivier Aubert, Managing Director of SWEN Capital Partners, continues: “As Europe's first dedicated renewable gas strategy, our second vintage SWEN Impact Fund for Transition 2 (SWIFT2) is proud to partner with Protium, the UK's leading independent hydrogen producer. We are convinced of the relevance of Protium's integrated project approach, offering a very wide range of energy services, from electricity and hydrogen generation and supply services, to heating and transport fuels. Meeting the on-site energy and transport decarbonisation needs of industrial consumers across Europe is a key objective in achieving the transition to zero carbon.”
Steven Poulter, Head of Principal Structuring and Investments at Barclays, said: “For a successful transition to net zero, alternative, low-carbon sources of energy need to be developed and deployed at scale. Protium’s green hydrogen and renewable energy infrastructure is well placed to deliver this transition, especially given today’s landmark investment, which will fuel Protium’s UK and Europe expansion plans. This is an exciting time to join the board and I look forward to supporting Protium with the growth of their portfolio.”
The funding demonstrates confidence in the green energy sector, showing UK and EU institutional capital is being drawn into financing companies that are moving consumers towards domestically produced and consumed green fuels.
It also coincides with the UK Government’s calls for applications under the £240mn Net Zero Hydrogen Fund (NZHF) – Protium has the clients, the expertise and the resources to ensure it will be among the first to develop and reach financial close on fully integrated green hydrogen projects in the UK.