NEWS & INSIGHT | article
Start-ups propelling hydrogen innovation: an interview with Mark Anderson
Mark Anderson is Chief Acceleration Officer & TechX Director at the Net Zero Technology Centre, where he leads the Centre’s activities to create, grow and develop start-up companies, to help accelerate the transition to net zero. Mark began his career with Procter & Gamble in 1991, before spending 25 years in strategy consulting and corporate advisory. For the last 20 years Mark’s focus has been on low carbon energy, climate change and sustainable technology. Before joining the Net Zero Technology Centre in March 2021 Mark co-founded two technology businesses alongside his advisory work, in which he focused on raising funds for start-ups and developing their business strategies, leading commercial due diligence for finance houses and advising large corporates on strategy and M&A.
Mark is passionate about entrepreneurship, and about helping to catalyse the transition to a net zero world and the role start-ups can play. Mark is an experienced mentor, and a seasoned chair and speaker at energy and cleantech conferences. He holds a Master’s degree in Engineering from Oxford University and a Master’s degree in Environmental Technology and Energy Policy from Imperial College, London.
Outside work, Mark enjoys golf, tennis, skiing and hillwalking, and is a keen singer.
In a recent interview with H2View, Chief Acceleration Officer & TechX Director Mark Anderson discussed TechX’s latest start-up cohort and the emerging hydrogen technologies set to transform the aviation sector.
This month’s magazine is focusing on aviation. What has the NZTC been doing in this space?
One start-up in our 2023 cohort is Fluxart,a company developing cryogenic superconducting hydrogen motors to help decarbonise the aviation industry.
The electric motors used to power prototype hydrogen-electric aircraft today are heavy, relatively inefficient and cannot scale to larger regional and single aisle aircraft, thus limiting market penetration. Fluxart’s superconducting motors are up to four times lighter and are more efficient thanks to utilising the liquid hydrogen fuel to cool the motor. This solution leads to lighter, more efficient aircraft, with zero greenhouse gas emissions.
Why hydrogen for aviation?
Hydrogen is a key contender in the bid to secure a sustainable future for the sector which makes it something to back. Compared to sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs) and conventional fossil fuels, green hydrogen is superior because it removes carbon dioxide emissions entirely, with the potential also to reduce other greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, hydrogen also offers higher energy density versus battery storage.
Solutions like Fluxart’s will be instrumental for the aviation and energy sectors in transitioning to a low carbon economy. Start-ups such as this are a prime example of how entrepreneurial ingenuity will be key in accelerating hydrogen innovation.
What’s next for Fluxart?
Fluxart is currently making fantastic progress through our TechX Accelerator, which will see them tap into our global industrial network, including potential support from our strategic partners bp, Equinor and ADNOC. They have already gained exposure to our multiple investment partners and been matched with specialists from our diverse pool of mentors. Our programme’s sessions are designed to unlock their full potential – enhancing their business model, accelerating their technology development and much more. It’s an exciting process, full of opportunities for them to grow.
Fluxart’s time in the programme will conclude in June at the TechX 2023 Demo Day, when they will be given a further opportunity to pitch their company and technology to a room full of investors and industry experts.
H2 View has covered a lot of the NZTC’s developments. What do you have in store for the next 12 months?
Once our start-ups complete the programme later this year, they will automatically be enrolled in our TechX Growth programme, receive free co-working space here in Aberdeen, and additional business support for the next two years.
For TechX, we are preparing to open applications for our sixth cohort of ‘pioneers’ this July. I look forward to seeing more ground-breaking start-ups come through our doors, to help us accelerate clean and affordable energy for a Net Zero future.
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