Software supporting decision making for hydrogen projects and infrastructure

Published on 2023-12-18

Startup Story

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Discover Persee's vision for a sustainable hydrogen future with their discussions in the evolving energy landscape.


About Persee

The inception of Persee traces back a decade ago when the decarbonization of mobility came up on the agenda. Amidst pioneering companies like Engie and Opel exploring the potential of hydrogen as a game-changing, a critical yet overlooked challenge emerged.

Everyone was focusing on individual technological advancements, but no one was looking at the big picture – how all these new technologies could work together cost-effectively. This is where Persee comes in. We realized there was a need for a solution to combine all these different components and make them viable as one integrated system, especially when connected to renewable sources.

I thought the missing piece of the puzzle was a digital platform that could grasp the complexity of hydrogen technologies and energy systems while connecting everyone involved, helping them make intelligent decisions to turn hydrogen infrastructure into a reality. The goal was clear: for hydrogen to become a significant energy vector, everyone – from the people investing in the technology to the ones using it, as well as policymakers and financial entities – needed to understand and work together to drive the systemic change required for these new infrastructures to emerge.

Hydrogen Infrastructure: Overcoming the Chicken-and-Egg Challenge

Talks about hydrogen becoming a widespread energy for vehicles and industries often face a significant problem: the lack of available infrastructure. While many people are excited about the idea of millions of hydrogen-powered vehicles and a move towards environmentally friendly "green" hydrogen, the reality check reveals a significant gap in the infrastructure. 

There's a standard comparison to a "chicken and egg issue" in the hydrogen economy conversation, although what needs to come first is the refueling infrastructure (before the vehicles). But hydrogen, as a potentially clean energy, requires a more expensive transition than the current options. The higher cost of this transition makes it crucial to have an efficient plan. Without it, the required investments become a bottleneck, and hydrogen adoption is delayed. 

So, at Persee, our primary focus is on making this transition more cost-effective. We do this through advanced planning, grasping the breadth of available technology solutions, and the possible trajectory of the hydrogen market – an essential step in making the investments needed both effective and worthwhile.

Persee's Comprehensive Solutions: Navigating Hydrogen Decision-Making

Persee's suite of software solutions is designed for easy navigation, similar to the user-friendly experience of Google's services. When it comes to the hydrogen industry, our software tackles essential questions. First, using a dedicated tool, we help determine if hydrogen aligns with your needs. Once you're on board, the focus shifts to planning your hydrogen journey—identifying technologies, locations, and infrastructure sizes. For mobility, our tools assist in selecting the most suitable hydrogen refueling infrastructure to meet fleet compatibility and demand patterns.

Throughout a hydrogen infrastructure project, our tools act as a guide, ensuring that well-informed decisions align with cost-effectiveness. The analysis covers three key aspects: technical, economic, and environmental. The technical side explores technology insights, maintenance considerations, and supplier options. Economically, we offer essential metrics like the levelized cost of hydrogen (LCOH), along with CapEx, OPEX. Environmental insights primarily focus on CO2 emissions, a crucial aspect where hydrogen differs significantly from conventional fuels like oil and natural gas.

Our software empowers users with diverse interfaces, allowing them to evaluate infrastructure design alternatives and weigh their economic and environmental impacts. Persee's commitment lies in providing comprehensive, data-driven solutions that inform and strategically guide investment decisions within the dynamic landscape of hydrogen infrastructure.

Target Audience and Market Readiness for Hydrogen Solutions

Initially designed for public authorities, Persee's focus has shifted significantly towards private entities, comprising 100% of our current customer base. We noticed that while many companies express interest in hydrogen, only a few have passed over the illusion of hydrogen being a cash cow. Surprisingly, these committed entities are often newer players in the energy sector, with more limited financial resources to invest significantly in hydrogen infrastructure compared to large multinational corporations.

Our clients come from diverse backgrounds, including fleet operators, renewable energy developers diversifying downstream sales, utility managers, and construction companies. What unites them is a shared interest in adopting hydrogen across various sectors. Within each industry, there's a subset of companies deeply committed to making a real impact in the hydrogen landscape – and these are the entities we aim to support.

Case Study: Optimizing Hydrogen Infrastructure for a Dutch Production Facility

We collaborated with an O&G company in the Netherlands to figure out the best hydrogen refueling network configuration, considering the expected demand in the coming years. One of the critical questions was whether to use gaseous or liquid hydrogen for the logistics of serving the network. It was essential to navigate the complexities of when and where to start this transition. Our role was to evaluate the pros and cons of each potential solution. The process involved the simulation and optimization of the network.

The insights we gathered provided a deep understanding of the advantages and limitations of both gaseous and liquid hydrogen. Our contributions offered short-term insights and identified crucial milestones, outlining when a shift to liquid hydrogen would become necessary. This strategic roadmap provided a phased approach, guiding subsequent decisions effectively and allowing our client to plan for a future transition to liquid hydrogen with informed certainty.

Navigating Trust and Industry Perceptions: Challenges Faced by Persee

Persee's journey has been marked by challenges, especially in overcoming historic difficulties in gaining traction for hydrogen initiatives. Initially, securing support and investments was challenging due to prevalent skepticism and reluctance within certain parts of the government. Despite solid credentials, biases against hydrogen at decision-making levels hindered progress in the early stages, particularly in France and parts of Europe, impacting potential private investments and slowing the company's early growth. 

During COVID-19, the hydrogen industry has been experiencing increased attention and investment, driven by the global focus on clean energy and sustainable solutions. As a result, many companies in the hydrogen space have attracted significant funding to support their research, development, and commercialization efforts.

When Persee started to raise funds in 2022 after notable achievements and recognition, the hydrogen wave had passed, and anti-hydrogen sentiments within decision-making panels came back, derailing opportunities. Private investors hesitated to allocate significant resources to ventures within the hydrogen sector. This lack of trust in the market's viability remains a considerable obstacle, impeding the company's journey despite its pioneering solutions. Persee's journey reflects the broader challenge of instilling confidence and reshaping perceptions within an industry facing resistance to embracing the potential of hydrogen.

About the author

Laurence Grand-Clément