Rainmatter Climate invests in Ossus Bio

What is Ossus Bio?
Ossus was founded in 2017 by Suruchi Rao, Shanta Rao, and Kamar Suhail Basha. They are working on the green hydrogen space with its use of waste carbon in industrial effluents as the starting material for green hydrogen. They were bootstrapped until now.

They set up Hydrogen generating reactors at industry sites that produce effluent water and use that wastewater to generate Hydrogen. The moat here is the way they break down the wastewater into Hydrogen without using heavy/rare metals (in electrodes). This team has already set up a pilot project.

Rainmatter has invested along with lead investor (Gruhas). The funding raised will be used to accelerate the deployment of Ossus’s OB Hydracel across other sectors, including refining, foods, brewing, chemicals, and pharmaceutical industries, and produce 3-5 tons of green hydrogen each day before the end of the year.

How does Ossus work?
The start-up has developed an intelligent bioreactor, the OB HydraCel, which accesses carbon in the wastewater from process industries and supplies these industries with on-demand, on-site hydrogen gas. The interesting bit here is that if there are industries that generate more hydrogen than they can use, Ossus have offtake agreements to use that Hydrogen for other purposes. The output from the water used by reactors set up by Ossus can be resued for industrial processes again. For example, Tata steel’s water requirements are offset by reusing the water processed by Ossus reactors. The water out from reactors is called demineralized water.

Why did we invest?
Green hydrogen is still a nascent sector globally, with many foundational technologies still being experimented with. Ossus’s core IP finds roots in using microorganisms sourced directly from effluents as catalysts for green hydrogen production. Their efforts align with India’s call to indigenously produce 5MMT (million metric tonnes) of green hydrogen each year without importing foreign-made electrolysers before 2025.

With Ossusm we felt the team was quite savvy about this space. We met the team multiple times and they were really knowledgeable and had a lot of conviction that they can scale this business over the next 4-5 years. They had done tons of research and have lot of experts in terms of Hydrogen on the team. Given that a large part of emissions in India is due to energy consumption, and with industrial energy needs being larger, could be a great starting point to offset with green hydrogen.

With Hydrogen particularly, there is a lot of research on why it may work and there are publications on why it might not work. There are several challenges with transportation, storage etc, but with industrial usage of Hydrogen for high density heat, there are lot of experts who suggest that its a use case that might be a good use case to experiment and figure if there are issues that need to be fixed before this is mainstreamed.

Here is a video also that explains what they do. :slight_smile:

Here is the announcement -



Good read on potential of Green Hydrogen. ^

Do we have an understanding of the net energy math for green hydrogen?

Had checked this out on this paper -
energies-14-07389-v2.pdf (5.3 MB)

Page 6 -

With Ossus specifically, there is no transportation and transmission involved, so lesser footprint. They are also using significantly lesser energy for the biochemical process of splitting wastewater with carbon into Hydrogen.

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Requesting @Suruchi also for her views on the net carbon comparison between Hydrogen vs Fossil fuel based energy consumption. Suruchi, please do share your views.

One other question a lot of folks have is around the storage and transportation of Hydrogen, and the challenges around it. We discussed this on a call other day, but maybe you can also share here so that it is useful for everyone on the forum to learn about it too.

Couple of things I was sharing with our team -

To overcome these challenges HFTO is pursuing two strategic pathways, targeting both near-term and long-term solutions. The near-term pathway focuses on compressed gas storage, using advanced pressure vessels made of fiber reinforced composites that are capable of reaching 700 bar pressure, with a major emphasis on system cost reduction. The long-term pathway focuses on both (1) cold or cryo-compressed hydrogen storage, where increased hydrogen density and insulated pressure vessels may allow for DOE targets to be met and (2) materials-based hydrogen storage technologies, including sorbents, chemical hydrogen storage materials, and metal hydrides, with properties having potential to meet DOE hydrogen storage targets.

What I realised while reading: this might be one of the best investment decisions in terms of building a sustainable future (why?)

There is a high probability that we will figure out Hydrogen based fusion in the next few years. And based on all the data points that I have encountered, the success of that will solve all our energy problems at zero environmental cost.

This means, a high probability, the demand for green Hydrogen would be super high to satisfy all different use cases. (clap) (clap)

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Thank you so much for this, Dinesh! We are extremely gratified by the faith shown by Rainmatter and Gruhas in us as founders, our team of engineers and most importantly in our vision for green hydrogen as an energy molecule, not of the future, but of the present. We at Ossus believe that energy circularity is the cornerstone of hypergrowth and sustainable consumption, particularly in manufacturing. Our bioreactors ensure all waste carbon in industries is repurposed as green hydrogen and prevented from accumulating as a greenhouse gas either as carbon dioxide or worse yet, as biomethane. We look forward to creating a new green hydrogen economy based on waste carbon reuse.

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Great question, Sameer! The best water splitting electrolyser spoken of today (Record-breaking hydrogen electrolyzer claims 95% efficiency) requires 53kWHr of power per kilogram of hydrogen which could produce as much as 40 kWHr of power, which means you’re definitely getting less output than input energy. Having said that, all green hydrogen producers are in a race to bridge this very gap. In a shameless plug for our own OB HydraCel reactors, we require as little as 0.76-8 kWHr for kilogram if hydrogen because the net energy input comes from microbial processes that contribute electrons for the cathodic evolution reaction. This is what makes the green hydrogen produced by our Bioreactors cost as little as USD 0.8-1 per kilogram direct at a customer’s site!

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You’re absolutely right, Dinesh! The distance between point of green hydrogen production to the point of actual utilisation is what determines its price viability. Businesses currently consuming hydrogen (green or otherwise) do not want their bottomline affected in a bid to remain green, when the cost surplus stems not from production but from compression, storage and transportation of green hydrogen. In fact, every 1000 kms that a unit of green hydrogen travels adds as much as USD 4-6 per kilogram of hydrogen. Imagine then, as a consumer with a plant in Jharkhand having to source green hydrogen from Rajasthan simply because of the large electrolyser stacks set up in that state thanks to the vast renewable energy supply available (solar + wind). This green hydrogen would serve well as transport fuel when mixed with natural gas and transported via the existing natural gas pipeline network in the western region (already underway in India: shorturl.at/ik137). For a Steel Industry consumer in Jharkhand, Ossus’ Bioreactors present an opportunity to produce AND consume green hydrogen directly at their site at low pressures ranging from 5-10 bar atmosphere. Ossus’ HydraCel Bioreactors also allow consumers to control consumption and supply chain (Ossus’ produce-as-you-consume model) by changing the intake of effluents available on site rather than by shoring up on larger-than-required capacity. Having said that, finding improved means to store hydrogen is a must and technologies such as metal hydrides (Metal Hydride Storage Materials | Department of Energy) are going to be part of the evolving hydrogen ecosystem across India and the world.

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Is it possible to tell the chemical compositions of biomethane? (what are other molecules in the combination of CH4 form biomethane)

Typically biogas reactors produce a combination of methane (CH4), carbon dioxide (CO2) and trace hydrogen sulphide (H2S). Before using methane from biogas, one would have to “scrub” the other gases off to use the methane as source of energy or heat.

Came across this


@suruchir In general, since green hydrogen is going to be absolutely pivotal for industries, potentially useful for aviation, considering that it is so hard to contain and transport besides it being a deep cryogen (liquid at -253oC) and that it embrittles steel, causing it to become prone to rupture how can the use of hydrogen be optimized? Isn’t the best viable approach with it is to produce it, transport it through pipelines and use it at the end of it? The hub and spoke model, especially in industrial applications. However, exceptions are where portability and mobility are highly essential (shipping, heavy duty transport).

Since it’s intensive to transport and keep cool, should utilities store and consume
hydrogen at the same place it’s produced — in stationary, on-site tanks?
What are some of the best practices to fully exploit the versatility of hydrogen across various sectors?

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Great question! I maybe oversimplifying here but, at Ossus, we believe the end-use of green hydrogen should be the primary factor determining its storage and compression requirements. For example, industries consuming hydrogen as raw material, or for heat/steam, would typically consume the gas at pressures ranging between 5-10 bar (5-10x higher than atmospheric pressure). Here, the hub and spoke model, as you rightly pointed out works best. The distance, by our estimates, between point of hydrogen production and consumption not exceeding 10-150 kms, at best. However, in the case of green hydrogen consumption by Fuel Cells for generating power, the minimum pressure required at point of use is between 300-700 bar, depending on the type and chemistry of FCs. In this case, even with a large volume of low cost hydrogen available at 5-10 bar, the requirement would include additional compression costs along with optimised local storage. Here compression becomes a necessary evil.

With aviation, hydrogen gas, is typically used as cryogenic liquid hydrogen or LH2, as you’ve rightly pointed out, at extremely low temperatures, usually below -253 C but pressures slightly above atmospheric (~1.5 bar). Here, the use of LH2 rather than compressed hydrogen gas, has less to do with storage and transport and rather more to do with the need to occupy minimum space onboard aircraft. The challenges with LH2 tanks and aircraft design are being addressed today with exciting developments by leaders in the sector, some FC specialists and even one Rainmatter Foundation funded Indian Startup.

Once the parameters and rate of consumption are defined, it becomes easier to make a choice about the need and method to store. Transportation (as it exists today), adds about US$6 over and above the cost per kilogram of hydrogen, for every 1000 kms it travels. So, yes, the lesser the distance between point of production and use, the better the techno-economics of hydrogen consumption but the compression and storage parameters, we believe should primarily be dictated by end-use.


Great investment Rainmatter team! The need for climate tech solutions for industries has never been higher. The EU has been increasing the pressure on exporting organization’s responsibility for carbon emissions this year onwards. In this scenario, taking on such an initiative is a win-win for tech startups like OSSOS and also the industries.
Kudos to the OSSUS and Rainmatter team!

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