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Supercritical hits the mark, securing £320k in InnovateUK’s most competitive competition

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June 21, 2021

Supercritical has been awarded over £320,000 by InnovateUK, the UK’s innovation agency, as part of the Smart Grant competition (Smart). Project AHEAD (Affordable Hydrogen from Electrolysis Accelerating Decarbonisation) sees the project, valued at almost half a million pounds, co-funded to 70% by InnovateUK. Crucially, the funding will support Supercritical in the development and testing of a fully operational multi-cell module.

Smart is InnovateUK’s ‘Open grant funding’ programme, with £25 million made available each quarter to support the best game-changing and commercially viable innovative or disruptive ideas. Smart is extremely competitive, applicants have to score higher than 80% in their application and due to the high number of applicants, with typically only 5% are successful!


Supercritical's founding team at their London lab

Luke Tan, Chief Product Officer, says “ By designing for operating conditions above the critical point of water, Supercritical unlocks the secret to boosting electrical efficiency in water electrolysis, minimising cost and waste. Supercritical’s technology can help accelerate the UK and the world towards net zero. ”

Over the next 18 months, Supercritical will design, build and test the world’s first multi-cell electrolyser module capable of operating above the critical point of water. By operating at these conditions, the electrolyser delivers high pressure hydrogen without any hydrogen gas compressors. State of the art electrolysers on the market today peak at 30 bar delivery pressure meaning that for storage or distribution, expensive hydrogen compressors must be added to the system. In addition, with Supercritical’s proprietary electrolyser design, superior electrical efficiencies can be achieved, enabling a high utilisation of renewable power, reducing waste and minimising capital costs at the hydrogen production stage and upstream in the renewable power generation stage.

Supercritical addresses a number of government initiatives that help support the UK’s Net Zero by 2050 pledge. Initiatives like Build Back Greener and the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan clearly demonstrate a desire to drive jobs through zero emission technologies and hydrogen. Supercritical brings vital innovation to a British hydrogen industry that is lacking compared to its European counterparts. With this Smart grant, Supercritical will double the size of its team, bringing crucial jobs to the UK, building on the strong technical capabilities available in the existing workforce in the UK.


Supercritical is developing the world’s first high pressure, ultra-efficient electrolyser, for the production of hydrogen and oxygen from water, with zero emissions. By using heat and pressure Supercritical's proprietary design allows them to exploit the benefits of supercritical water and deliver gases at over 200 bar of pressure, without the expense or challenges of hydrogen compressors. With this, Supercritical will deliver the lowest cost of pressurised green hydrogen.

Innovate UK

Innovate UK drives productivity and economic growth by supporting businesses to develop and realise the potential of new ideas.

We connect businesses to the partners, customers and investors that can help them turn ideas into commercially successful products and services and business growth.

We fund business and research collaborations to accelerate innovation and drive business investment into R&D. Our support is available to businesses across all economic sectors, value chains and UK regions.

Innovate UK is part of UK Research and Innovation. For more information visit

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