Electrochaea, a UChicago-affiliated start-up, was selected as part of the 2014 Global Cleantech 100 for its electricity-to-gas energy storage technology.
Electrochaea specializes in power-to-gas energy storage technology, converting surplus electricity from the grid into methane, the key component of natural gas. It then injects the methane into the existing natural gas network, storing more energy than is possible through other methods. The natural gas can then be used during peak hours to produce power for industry and transportation or for long-distance energy transmission.
The Global Cleantech 100 is a list of 100 private companies recognized for having the highest potential to solve the future clean energy crisis. The list is released by the Cleantech Group, a market intelligence firm.
The University played a key role in the company’s development. The patent-pending process used to convert electricity into gas uses a biocatalyst that was redesigned for industrial usage by Laurens Mets, an associate professor of molecular genetics and cell biology. Electrochaea’s CEO, Mich Hein, worked for the University’s Office of Technology and Intellectual Property, and Vice President of Business Development Dominic Hofstetter received his M.B.A. from the Booth School of Business.
Currently, Electrochaea is trying to scale its technology to commercial size, pursuing projects in Germany, Denmark, and the United States.