Anion-exchange membrane (AEM) electrolyser pioneer Enapter has today announced its first pre-tax profit in the company’s history in a preliminary financial results update, days after revealing a licensing deal with a Chinese manufacturer.

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The firm reported €0.4m ($0.43m) in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (Ebitda), a major increase from the previous year, which saw a negative Ebitda of minus €10.58m.

However, Enapter, which saw co-founder Sebastian-Justus Schmidt resign from a co-CEO position at the end of December, admitted in its update that it still had a net loss of €7.1m.

The German-headquartered firm also announced €31m in sales for the year, more than double the €14.7m in turnover from 2022.

Enapter's AEM stacks — for which it won an Earthshot Prize in 2021 — pass negatively-charged ions through a semipermeable membrane to make electrolysis more efficient. While the process is similar to proton exchange membrane technologies (which pass positively-charged ions through a membrane), AEM electrolysers do not use rare platinum group metals as catalysts.

Enapter has generally focused on much smaller-scale electrolysers compared to its competitors, with its largest offering only rated to 1MW. However, this megawatt-scale system is also the subject of 95% of Enapter’s customer enquiries, which the firm values at €1.6bn in 2023.

The electrolyser maker also reported a €26m order backlog for 2023, of which €14m has fallen into this financial year.

Last week, Enapter formed a joint venture with engine manufacturer Wolong in order to supply its technology to the Chinese market, expanding on a €6m electrolyser supply contract signed in August.

The German-headquartered firm will hold a 49% stake in the JV and ship AEM stacks made at its manufacturing site in Pisa, Italy, to Wolong for domestic production of electrolysers in China, from which it will receive a 3% licence fee on future sales.