Smoltek Nanotech Holding AB (“Smoltek”) announces very successful test results for the company’s cell material for electrolyzers.
Prototypes (demonstrators) with only 0.5 mg of iridium per square centimeter produce as much hydrogen as a standard material with 2.5 mg of iridium per square centimeter. The improvement is due to the company’s unique nanostructure. In addition, lifetime tests show that the material can be protected against corrosion. The next step is to start tuning various technical parameters to further improve the technology and reach the goal of 0.1 mg iridium per square centimeter.
In the hydrogen business area, Smoltek develops a cell material for electrolyzers (ECM) with minimal consumption of the rare precious metal iridium. The electrolyzers will thus become much cheaper. The reduced consumption of iridium per electrolyzer will help enable global scale-up of PEM electrolyzers, which are essential to produce fossil-free hydrogen.
The technology is developed by the group company Smoltek Hydrogen in collaboration with a large industrial manufacturer of input materials for electrolyzers. The tests have been carried out by a prominent German technical institute assembling Smoltek’s materials into prototypes (demonstrators) of complete electrolyzer cells and tested these against conventional cells.
The results of these tests have now been verified, and they show that with only 0.5 mg of iridium/cm2, Smoltek’s first prototypes produce the same amount of hydrogen as a conventional cell does with 2.5 mg of iridium/cm2.
“This is an incredibly pleasing result for us. Already today, the iridium price is up to SEK 2 million per kilogram and is expected to rise to SEK 8–10 million per kilogram before the end of the decade. This shows that our concept is extremely strong”, says Ellinor Ehrnberg.
The tests indicate that the same capacity is reached with the Smoltek cell material as with a standard material, which in this case contains five times more iridium than the Smoltek material. This means that Smoltek Hydrogen’s sub-goal of getting down to 0.2 mg of iridium per square centimeter is within reach. The next development step is to start tuning various technical parameters to get closer to the goal of only needing 0.1 mg iridium per square centimeter.
The initial long-term tests have also yielded positive results where Smoltek’s prototypes have passed a 1,000-hour test without degrading. It shows that the corrosion-resistant coating prevents the carbon nanofibers from breaking down in the highly corrosive environment of the anode side where the water maintains a pH value of 0.
Smoltek’s proprietary cell material for electrolyzers is a carbon nanofiber-based material with a three-dimensional structure that is developed to radically reduce the amount of iridium particles and increase proton throughput in an electrolyzer cell.