California-based H2U, a company specializing in technologies to discover and test low-cost electrocatalysts, has demonstrated a first-of-its-kind iridium-free PEM electrolyzer for hydrogen production.
The company aims to reduce costs of its PEM electrolyzers by using stacks that replace expensive and scarce iridium catalysts with inexpensive and abundant catalyst materials.
Following this successful demonstration, H2U is on track to ship its first proof-of-concept electrolyzer systems in 2023. Customers looking to advance their green hydrogen projects will be able to view several operational, iridium-free, multi-kilowatt electrolyzer stacks at H2U’s lab facilities in Chatsworth, Calif.
Mark McGough, CEO of H2U Technologies, said:
This is such an extraordinary time to research and develop solutions for real-world decarbonization.
“Our iridium-free electrolyzers have the potential to revolutionize green hydrogen production. We will cut nearly half the cost of today’s offerings by producing electrolyzers with economical and readily available materials. We are fortunate to have some of the brightest minds in the industry working on developing and proving novel catalyst materials. We’re confident that our electrolyzer approach will be a game-changer.”
Michael Lichterman, Ph.D., Principal Scientist, said:
This initial demonstration shows the efficacy of our non-iridium catalyst materials.
“By leveraging our CDE, H2U will continue to improve the efficiency and durability of its catalyst materials with each subsequent electrolyzer system. Moreover, the lessons learned from this demonstration build our expertise in incorporating catalytic materials into stacks. These lessons can be applied no matter what catalyst we use.”
A recent report by Hydrogen Council and the World Bank titled Sufficiency, Sustainability and Circularity of Critical Materials for Clean Hydrogen concludes that platinum group metals (PGMs) will be sufficient for hydrogen because of recycling practices that are already in place.
However, it highlighted that understanding of the iridium market isn’t as developed, particularly in the fast-changing arena of PEM electrolysis.
Alastair Judge, Johnson Matthey’s Chief Executive for Platinum Group Metal Services responded to the report saying:
“Knowledge of the iridium market is not as developed, particularly in the rapidly evolving area of PEM electrolysis, which can make it difficult to project future requirements for the metal, as is the case in this report. JM’s PGM expertise across the value chain gives it a unique insight that has enabled it to refine the assumptions used to estimate the iridium requirements for electrolytic hydrogen production.
“Even using as little as 1.5 tonnes of iridium per year (around 20% of primary supply), PEM electrolysis technology has the potential to achieve more than 100 GW of green hydrogen capacity by 2030, >500 GW by 2040 and >1500 GW by 2050.
“JM has a unique view across the value chain from PGM sourcing to using these metals in fuel cell and electrolyser components and then recycling them for reuse. With this expertise, we know that through thrifting and recycling, there will be sufficient iridium supply to support the required ramp-up in hydrogen demand.”