In our new podcast episode of “Talk Energy with YES-Europe”, we interviewed Andrew Gillis, the CEO of Aurora Hydrogen. Aurora Hydrogen is at the forefront of developing innovative technology that produces Hydrogen, heating up natural gas with Microwave energy. This process is called Pyrolysis and the best part is that produces this gas without releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This way, the production of hydrogen can be environmentally friendly and cost-effective. 

About their CEO:

Andrew Gillis is the CEO and Co-Founder of Aurora Hydrogen, which was established in 2021. He has almost a decade of experience in the resource industries in clean technology research, development, scale-up, and commercialization. He holds a PhD in Engineering from the University of British Columbia as well as an MBA from Simon Fraser University.

The core of the company:

Methane pyrolysis is a process that involves the thermal decomposition of methane into its constituent elements hydrogen gas (H2) and solid carbon (C), using high temperatures and in the absence of oxygen and water. Methane cracking is an endothermic reaction, which means that it requires an energy input to do. Energy can be supplied by various means, such as thermal energy, plasma energy, or microwave energy. These high temperatures are typically achieved by burning natural gas or using lots of electricity to create plasma. Dr. Murray Thomson, one of Aurora’s Technical Directors, knew that microwaves are a very efficient heating method. He wondered whether it would be possible to use them to reduce the energy required and CO2 generated by traditional methane pyrolysis processes. To answer this question, he contacted Dr. Erin Bobicki, another Technical Director at Aurora Hydrogen. Combining Dr. Thomson’s and Dr. Bobicki’s unique domain expertise led to the development of a novel, energy-efficient, emission-free, and low-cost hydrogen production technology. Moreover,  The solid carbon produced can be used in various applications such as a steel making, filler for car tires and graphite production. 


It is widely accepted that hydrogen will play a vital role in the transition to Net Zero, being included in all major scenarios. Hydrogen has the potential to decarbonize hard-to-abate sectors like industry, heavy transport, heating, and power. As an energy carrier, hydrogen cannot provide energy on its own; it must be produced through energy conversion processes from other sources of energy, such as fossil fuels, renewable sources, or nuclear energy.

Aurora technology, which is based on microwave pyrolysis shows a better profile compared to the most common methods for hydrogen production like SMR (steam methane reforming) and water electrolysis. It produces much lower CO2 emissions for production of one kilogram of hydrogen compared to SMR, which is currently the most cost-effective method for producing hydrogen and contributes about 50% of the world’s hydrogen production. It is also less energy intensive than water electrolysis which is one of the most promising technologies to produce green hydrogen if the power comes from renewable sources. Additionally, they claim that their technology has the potential to be cost-competitive with SMR and electrolysis.

Remember this name…

As Aurora Hydrogen develops and commercializes their microwave technology to produce methane pyrolysis and hydrogen, they may encounter several technical challenges, such as  their technology not getting disseminated through academia or industry. This may lead to technical difficulties in scaling up the process to industrial-scale production while maintaining high yields and low energy consumption. The company has a strong capability which makes it a winner on both sides of the existing hydrogen market by producing low price hydrogen within existing governmental frameworks, as well as in future hydrogen market segments such as mobility, especially heavy vehicles. Their technology allowed them to reduce the high price of hydrogen transportation and to produce where it is needed, which made hydrogen transportation less expensive. There is no doubt that we will hear a lot about their success in the near future.

Intrigued and want to get into the details? Go ahead and give the episode a listen, as we take you on a journey that we believe will leave you inspired to say the least.