Meet Aris Maroonian, Founder and CEO of Neology Hydrogen

Please tell us about Neology

Neology, headquartered in Lutry, is at the forefront of the hydrogen energy revolution. Founded by Aris Maroonian, our mission is to pioneer innovative and sustainable hydrogen solutions that address the world’s growing energy needs. At Neology, we specialize in advanced hydrogen production technologies that are both environmentally friendly and economically viable. Our multidisciplinary team, comprising experts in chemistry, engineering, and business development, collaborates to push the boundaries of what is possible in the hydrogen sector. By harnessing cutting-edge research and development, we aim to contribute significantly to a cleaner, more sustainable future. Neology is committed to excellence, innovation, and the relentless pursuit of energy solutions that pave the way for a greener tomorrow.

Neology’s journey began in 2016 when, while working at Toyota, I became intrigued by the challenges hindering the sales of hydrogen-powered vehicles. Providing seven Toyota Mirai vehicles to the Lausanne Olympic Committee revealed a significant obstacle: the lack of refueling stations, necessitating long journeys for refueling. Additionally, the local hydrogen production capacity was just 1 kg per day, far short of the 6 kg needed to fill each vehicle’s tank. This realization led me to investigate alternative hydrogen sources, ultimately focusing on ammonia. In 2018, recognizing the potential of ammonia in hydrogen production, I founded Neology to develop innovative and sustainable hydrogen solutions.

Today, Neology specializes in advanced hydrogen production technologies, including cutting-edge ammonia cracking, making hydrogen energy both environmentally friendly and economically viable. Our dedicated team of ten experts in chemistry, engineering, product development, and business strategy has driven our success. By 2022, we achieved a successful proof of concept and catalyst validation. Neology stands at the forefront of the hydrogen energy revolution, committed to overcoming the challenges of clean energy and creating a sustainable future.

Tell us more about your plans for 2024 and what is your long-term vision.

In 2024, Neology is poised to make significant strides in scaling up our hydrogen production technologies. Our primary focus will be on advancing our ammonia cracking process to industrial-scale applications, ensuring it is both efficient and cost-effective. We plan to establish strategic partnerships with key players in the energy and transportation sectors to accelerate the deployment of our technology. Additionally, we aim to expand our production capabilities and enhance our supply chain to meet the growing demand for sustainable hydrogen solutions.

Long-term, Neology envisions becoming a global leader in the hydrogen economy, playing a crucial role in the transition to clean energy. Our goal is to make hydrogen an accessible and viable energy source worldwide, contributing significantly to reducing carbon emissions and combating climate change. We aspire to continuously innovate and refine our technologies, exploring new applications and markets for hydrogen. By fostering a culture of collaboration and excellence, we aim to lead the way in providing sustainable energy solutions that will power a greener, more sustainable future for generations to come.

What has been the biggest success that you have achieved in your startup?

Our biggest success at Neology has been the development and validation of our advanced ammonia cracking technology. Achieving a successful proof of concept and catalyst validation in 2022 marked a significant milestone for us. This breakthrough demonstrated the feasibility and efficiency of our technology, positioning Neology as a frontrunner in the hydrogen production industry.

Building on this success, we completed a vehicle demonstrator in May 2024. This demonstrator showcased our technology’s practical application and underscored its potential to revolutionize the hydrogen-powered vehicle market. It not only proved the effectiveness of our ammonia cracking process in real-world conditions but also strengthened our credibility and attracted interest from potential partners and investors.

These achievements validate our vision of creating sustainable and economically viable hydrogen solutions. Our team’s dedication and expertise have been instrumental in reaching this point, and these accomplishments serve as a solid foundation for our continued efforts to revolutionize the hydrogen energy sector.

If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently?

If I could do it all over again, there are a few key things I would approach differently. Firstly, I would build more realistic timelines into our project planning. One of my biggest learnings has been that everything takes more time than initially planned. By allowing for more flexibility and buffer time, we could manage these delays more effectively.

Secondly, I would place even greater emphasis on the fundraising process from the start. Fundraising is really hard and demands a significant amount of time and effort. Building strong relationships with investors early on and clearly articulating our value proposition and long-term vision are crucial. Preparing for multiple rounds of financing would have alleviated some of the pressure we faced.

Thirdly, I would prioritize securing technology patents early in our development process. Patents are crucial for investment capitalization and risk reduction for investors. They protect our innovations from competitors and enhance our value proposition, increasing investor confidence in our long-term prospects.

Lastly, I would focus even more on team building. It’s all about the team. Our achievements at Neology are a testament to the incredible dedication and expertise of our team. Investing more in team development and alignment from the beginning would have helped us harness our collective strengths better.

These experiences have taught me that patience, perseverance, and a strong team are fundamental to navigating the challenges of a startup. By applying these learnings, we can continue to grow and innovate, driving Neology towards a sustainable future in the hydrogen energy sector.

What motivates you to continue your business every day?

What motivates me to continue my business every day is the unwavering belief in the transformative potential of hydrogen energy. The urgent need for sustainable and clean energy solutions drives my passion to push the boundaries of innovation in this field. Seeing the tangible progress we make towards reducing carbon emissions and combating climate change fuels my dedication.

Additionally, the incredible team at Neology inspires me daily. Their expertise, enthusiasm, and shared commitment to our vision create a dynamic and collaborative environment that makes even the toughest challenges rewarding. Knowing that we are collectively working towards a greener future keeps me motivated and focused.

Finally, the positive impact we can have on future generations is a powerful motivator. The thought of contributing to a cleaner, more sustainable world for my children and grandchildren gives me a deep sense of purpose. This mission, combined with the daily progress we achieve, keeps me energized and committed to advancing Neology’s goals.

One piece of advice for someone who is just starting out with their startup?

One piece of advice for someone just starting out with their startup is to begin by identifying a clear business problem to solve rather than starting with a technology. Focus on addressing a genuine market need to create a product or service that truly adds value.

Additionally, prioritize building a strong, cohesive team that is passionate about solving this problem. Surround yourself with individuals who share your vision and bring diverse skills to the table. A great idea needs the right people to execute it. Invest in selecting team members who align with your company’s culture and values. The strength and dedication of your team will be crucial in navigating challenges and driving innovation.

What does the Swiss Startup Association offer to you as a founder?

Being a member of the Swiss Startup Association connects me to a dynamic community of innovators, providing invaluable networking opportunities and resources that are crucial for Neology’s growth. This membership enhances our credibility, supports our mission for sustainable energy solutions, and keeps us at the forefront of industry developments.

 

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