Catagen nets £4.9m in funding to develop biohydrogen reactor in Belfast

28 Jun 2023

From left: Michael Sloan, Andrew Shannon, Dr Andrew Woods and Joshua Yip. Image: Catagen

Catagen is growing fast currently, having last year announced major hiring plans for its Belfast base in addition to new product launches.

Northern Ireland-headquartered clean-tech company Catagen has been awarded £4.9m in state funding by the UK to develop one of its proprietary tech tools in Belfast.

The funding was awarded to the company by the UK’s Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ). Catagen will use the funding to develop its biohydrogen reactor, which will go to market under the brand name ClimaHtech.

Today’s (28 June) funding news for Catagen follows last year’s expansion announcement by the company that involved product launches and a hiring strategy. In November 2022, Catagen said it would more than double its team from 35 staff (at the time) to 70 or more within the next 12 months. It said it was targeting 130 staff in total by 2025.

Most of the planned jobs were to be in engineering, with the company saying it was looking for engineers to help it work on technologies to enable the production of green hydrogen and e-fuels.

As well as the jobs announcement, Catagen also launched five new patent-protected technologies. The company has already built a prototype for its planned biohydrogen generator. It has also carried out feasibility studies for the generator in industrial settings, for example, at a Ballyconnell cement plant. The company is hoping that the fresh funding from the UK government will help it deliver a full-scale demonstrator by 2025.

This is not the first time Catagen has received funding awards from the UK government. Some of its previously released products were developed using money from the UK’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Dr Andrew Woods, CEO and co-founder of Catagen, said that the company has “been on an amazing journey over the past year”. He added that the fresh funding would allow for the business to enter into its next phase of development for the biohydrogen reactor, as well as take on more engineers as to “clean and decarbonise the air”.

Woods said that Catagen will be working collaboratively with the team at Belfast Harbour where the first biohydrogen reactor will be situated. “This provides massive opportunity for the early adoption of low-carbon hydrogen to decarbonise transport or heavy industry at a focal point in Belfast”.

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Blathnaid O’Dea was a Careers reporter at Silicon Republic until 2024.