“Ten years ago, we preached in the desert when we talked about hydrogen,” recalls Jean-Michel Amaré, co-founder ofAtawey in 2012 with Pierre-Jean Bonnefond. Today, the Savoyard company, specialist in the supply of H2 carbon-free for mobility, has installed 25 charging stations – including 24 in France, covering 40% of this emerging market.
Atawey is one of the pioneers with a patented technology for electrolysis of water from electricity of renewable origin, for the production of green hydrogen on site. Any Time, Any Where, Energy: the acronym for Atawey. “This is the strength of hydrogen: being able to produce and have clean energy anywhere,” sums up the president. The start-up has developed its “alkaline, monopolar type” electrolyser in joint ownership with the Stéphane company Sagim, a manufacturer of hydrogen generators, a leader in the field of meteorology (inflation of balloon probes).
Its “pumps”, three in one, production, storage and distribution, are of small to medium capacity to supply the hydrogen bikes of its biarrot partner Pragma (five minutes of charging for 150 kilometers of autonomy), a fleet of vehicles of function or some industrial machinery. It is aimed at both local authorities and businesses. Or both, within the framework of project companies to develop hydrogen mobility in a territory. This is the case in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, for the Zero Emission Valley program, and in Normandy as part of the EasyMob project.
Half a day
Atawey is always one step ahead in a market that is structuring at high speed. Its stations are already scalable, able to quadruple their production to adapt to growing fleets. And the company comes from launch a mobile station with the fastest commissioning on the market: half a day.
Easy and agile hydrogen. Processes are simplified thanks to the automation of procedures and intuitive control screens. “This station on wheels is intended for temporary uses, from six months to two years: repair, transition, work sites, demonstrators”, explains Jean-Michel Amaré. Unlike previous versions, it will be available for rental in early 2022, on sale, but under multi-year maintenance contracts. “Ten quotes have already left since the launch of the marketing of the ‘Mobile’ at the beginning of September”, specifies the manager.
The Savoyard company cooperates with its Drôme cousin Ergosup, winner of the global innovation competition with production technology based on zinc electrochemistry, which has the particularity of storing hydrogen under pressure without a mechanical compressor. Together, the two companies want to develop the “Atawey-Ergosup Inside” station, a mini gas plant combining power and compactness.
Atawey, 40 employees and a little more each month, should cross in 2022 the milestone of 5 million euros in turnover. A fundraising of several tens of millions of euros is emerging next year for the construction of a new factory on the shores of Lake Bourget, with a view to quintupling its production by 2023. Because the company, which one foot in Switzerland, is now exploring the European market.
She has benefited from I-Nov grants, a two-time winner of the Ademe competition, and funds from the PIA. In total, the industrial start-up received 15 million euros in funding. It has two funds among its shareholders, Starquest Capital and InnoEnergie. It was even the first French start-up, in 2012, to join this European accelerator (which has more than 300 participations). The two founders keep 40% of the capital.