CleanTechies
CleanTechies Podcast
#185 Green Hydrogen, Landing Customers, Electrolyzers, Building in Wisconsin, & More w/ Chad Mason (Advanced Ionics)
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#185 Green Hydrogen, Landing Customers, Electrolyzers, Building in Wisconsin, & More w/ Chad Mason (Advanced Ionics)

And! Bill Murray as Head of Engineering

Why did the hydrogen molecule apply for a job in manufacturing? Because it heard they were really into bonding! — Ba dum shhh! 🥁

🌎 Welcome back to CleanTechies! This is a Founder edition.

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Each week, we publish 2 (usually) ~1 hour-long conversations with leading Founders, Investors, Operators, and Thinkers in ClimateTech to share their insights and tips for others building in the space.

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Today, we are talking to Chad Mason from Advanced Ionics

Last episode, we talked about decarbonizing the supply chain of manufacturing; today, we are speaking about decarbonizing the energy side of manufacturing with Hydrogen Electrolyzers.

If you’re unfamiliar, energy is usually one of the three biggest operating expenses. So, manufacturers always take a special interest in reducing it.

Many believe the answer to that will be efficient hydrogen power. If done properly, that can be done by using green hydrogen, making the energy renewable and further reducing pollution.

Today, Chad tells us his story and we dive into some key topics.

  • From farm kid to founder: How his first exposure to electrolysis at age 5 on his family farm in North Dakota was the catalyst that eventually led him to start Advanced Ionics.

  • Low-Cost Centers: Why they ended up building the company in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and the surprising advantages.

  • Flexible Financing: Be opportunistic when it comes to fundraising. The timing may not feel perfect, but if the investors are ready to chomp at the bit, consider moving forward.

It was electrifying! ⚡️


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The Guest: Chad Mason

  • Originally a farm kid from North Dakota, early on, Chad took an interest in engineering and building things. It’s a common experience growing up on a farm to tinker and test things.

  • He’d go on to study Electrical Engineering at North Dakota State University. From there he eventually landed a job in Singapore as a Research Engineer studying different types of battery technology - specifically Sodium-ion, Lithium, and Zinc.

  • When he returned to the US, he worked with GM on Fuel-Cell development. But after attending a conference and realizing there was a big gap in the space of Green Hydrogen production, he started scheming.

  • It wasn’t long before he decided to take the leap and start Advanced Ionics.


The Company: Advanced Ionics

One Liner: Producing highly efficient Electrolyzers for industrial users.

Born out of Chad’s deep interest in electrolosys, Advanced Ionics came to be a reality after he left GM.

Supported initally by the folks at Workbench in Milwaukee, they were able to get off the ground. This is where they patched together their first ‘stack’ (V1 of their product) to prove the concept.

Today they partner with major energy players like BP, Shell, Repsol, and ENGIE to continue developing their technology.

As they continue de-risking the technology, they inch closer and closer every day to revolutionizing the electrolyzer space and the way industrials produce energy for their needs.

With their tech, they can use up to 50% less energy per kilogram of hydrogen. This will be a game changer.

They do not yet know if they will just license out their tech, or aim to be the manufacters — they’ve preserved that optionality.


Do you have suggestions on future guests or topics? Leave a comment!

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📝 Show Notes:

Topics

  • 2:00 Intro and Background

  • 5:13 Utilizing Exothermic Heat for Efficiency

  • 6:20 Chad's Entrepreneurial Journey

  • 12:44 Early Inspirations and Career Path

  • 15:25 Understanding Electrolysis Technology

  • 18:18 Components and Operation of the Stack

  • 26:30 Landing Customers

  • 27:47 The Power of Partnerships and Investments

  • 31:26 Lessons Learned: Opportunistic with Capital Raising

  • 40:58 Headwinds and Tailwinds of Hydrogen Industry

  • 45;36 The Importance of Reliability and Maintainability

  • 49:10 Talent Acquisition in Wisconsin

  • 53:16 Takeaways

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🙏🏽 Thanks for tuning in, and see y’all next episode!

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CleanTechies
CleanTechies Podcast
We are CleanTechies, the #1 Podcast for ClimateTech Entrepreneurs. Whether you’re an active ClimateTech entrepreneur, an aspiring one, an investor, a service provider…anything that touches supporting early stage climate tech, this is the place for you.
Each week, we publish two interviews with leading experts in the field telling their stories, insights, and advice to help ClimateTech Entrepreneurs like you be inspired by their successes and learn from their mistakes.