Equinor Ventures helped the photocatalyst reactor developer boost its overall funding to $35m in a round led by Horizons Ventures.

US-based photocatalyst reactor developer Syzygy Plasmonics received $23m yesterday in a series B round featuring Equinor Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of petroleum supplier Equinor.

Venture capital firm Horizons Ventures led the round, which included The Engine, the VC fund backed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, in addition to Goose Capital and Evok Innovations.

Founded in 2018, Syzygy is working on a reactor that relies on light rather than heat to trigger the chemical reactions needed to manufacture plastics, fuel, fertiliser and hydrogen.

The company’s initial focus is on the production of hydrogen, where it hopes to cut the manufacturing cost in half compared to alternative methods such as electrolysis. Patrick Poon of Horizons Ventures has joined its board of directors in connection with the round.

Trevor Best, co-founder and CEO of Syzygy, said: “With renewable electricity as an energy source, our technology is cleaner, and because of the stability and activity of our photocatalysts, we can drive dozens of possibilities, tuning reactions that produce different chemicals.

“Our initial product will focus on eliminating emissions from hydrogen production, transforming the industrial process involved in making semiconductors, LEDs and metals. Our system will also enable industries that are consumers of hydrogen fuel cells, like fuel cell vehicles.”

Syzygy said it had previously raised approximately $12m in funding. Goose Capital and The Engine co-led a $5.8m series A round in August 2019 that a regulatory filing shows closed at $10.7m four months later. It included existing backer Evok Innovations and assorted angel investors.