One of the UK’s most exciting startups is at the centre of a global ‘tug of war’ from countries wanting to take advantage of their game-changing technology.

Hull-based technology firm HiiROC has pioneered a new low cost method to produce zero emission hydrogen.

Last year HiiROC grabbed the world’s attention by winning KPMG’s Private Enterprise Global Tech Innovator award at the final in Lisbon, beating off competition from over 1,000 applicants across 22 countries.

HiiROC’s Thermal Plasma Electrolysis uses an electric field to split apart hydrocarbon molecules to produce affordable hydrogen with zero CO2 emissions.

Speaking at this year’s final of the KPMG Private Enterprise Tech Innovator in the UK 2023, CEO Tim Davies revealed they’d attracted attention from several countries around the world wanting them to move there.

HiiROC’s Thermal Plasma Electrolysis is cheaper than other technologies and offers a more energy-efficient solution, producing more hydrogen per kW of electricity.

Davies told BusinessCloud: “If you’re going to adopt hydrogen as the main fuel source worldwide, you need new ways of doing it.

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“Our new, proprietary technology is the electrolysis of hydrocarbons. This splits the molecules apart to free up the good bit – the hydrogen – and sequesters the carbon as an inert solid without producing any carbon dioxide, i.e. without producing greenhouse gases.

“Our technology is wanted around the world. We have to be focussed about where we go so we don’t stretch ourselves too far but also making sure we stay true to our roots.”

Davies said the US was particularly keen to get them to cross the Atlantic.

“Of the three co-founders, two are British and one is Dutch,” he said. “We’re having huge pressure to move to get the benefit of the IRA scheme.

“The IRA scheme encourages you to have a US base and provides unprecedented incentives for hydrogen production and other decarbonisation technologies. It’s the largest fiscal support package ever announced, helping the US towards net zero.

“The EU is developing similar incentive schemes in the battle to keep technology likes ours in Europe. Other parts of the world are also offering incentives for us to relocate, particularly Asia and the Middle East.

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“We’re proud to be British. Britain’s heritage in science and development means we have the heritage to lead on sustainability innovation; however, Britain just doesn’t have the pockets of the US or other markets.”

HiiROC employs over 100 people globally with its Hull headquarters in Hull.

Last week, Inovus Medical was crowned KPMG Private Enterprise Tech Innovator in the UK 2023 and will now compete against the winners from 22 other countries in the global competition at the Web