Advances in our technology for new cell material for electrolyzers

Smoltek has achieved proof-of-con­cept for high-per­form­ing, nanofiber-based cell mate­r­i­al for PEM-elec­trolyz­ers. In our lab­o­ra­to­ry we have demon­strat­ed that the cell mate­r­i­al ful­fills sev­er­al impor­tant per­for­mance and dura­bil­i­ty require­ments, includ­ing very low con­tact resis­tance, which poten­tial indus­tri­al part­ners have stat­ed that they want to test before a col­lab­o­ra­tion regard­ing the con­tin­ued devel­op­ment can be initiated.

Smoltek’s R&D‑team has car­ried out sol­id and deter­mined work in order to achieve proof-of-con­cept of Smoltek’s nanofiber-based cell mate­r­i­al for elec­trolyz­ers. This also con­sti­tutes a fur­ther con­fir­ma­tion of the oppor­tu­ni­ties with our patent pro­tect­ed tech­nol­o­gy plat­form for con­trolled nanofiber growth. The tech­nol­o­gy has sub­stan­tial poten­tial to be used to con­tribute to a new gen­er­a­tion of PEM (Pro­ton Exchange Mem­brane) elec­trolyz­ers, where either sur­face effi­cien­cy (high­er cur­rent den­si­ty) or reduced need of cost­ly irid­i­um-based cat­a­lyst are in focus.

“We have now shown that our cell mate­r­i­al is an excel­lent car­ri­er for the cat­a­lyst par­ti­cles used in PEM elec­trolyz­ers, and some of these results have already been pre­sent­ed to poten­tial indus­tri­al part­ners in the form of large inter­na­tion­al man­u­fac­tur­ers in the elec­trolyz­er field. Our mate­r­i­al works as an inter­face lay­er with very low con­tact resis­tance for cat­alyt­ic nanopar­ti­cles, for both elec­trons and hydro­gen ions, and this is exact­ly what is in-demand in this seg­ment,” says Fabi­an Wenger, Tech­nol­o­gy Lead at Smoltek Innovation.

The prop­er­ties of the cell mate­r­i­al also makes it suit­able for oth­er relat­ed appli­ca­tions, includ­ing fuel cells.

“Our mate­r­i­al con­sti­tutes a pos­si­ble solu­tion which can be applied broad­ly in the field of elec­tro­chem­i­cal cells. This includes fuel cells, which are expect­ed to play an impor­tant role in the com­ing years for heavy trans­ports. Water elec­trolyz­ers on the oth­er hand are key for pro­duc­ing green hydro­gen gas that allows ener­gy-inten­sive indus­tries, like steel pro­duc­tion, to become fos­sil free. Just look­ing at our home mar­ket Swe­den, we are notic­ing very large invest­ments in green steel pro­duc­tion,” says Elli­nor Ehrn­berg, Pres­i­dent of the group com­pa­ny Smoltek Inno­va­tion, which is respon­si­ble for the devel­op­ment of the cell material.

Smoltek is con­duct­ing dis­cus­sions with poten­tial indus­tri­al part­ners ahead of the con­tin­ued devel­op­ment of the cell mate­r­i­al. At the same time, the devel­op­ment team is work­ing to cre­ate a suit­able anti-cor­ro­sion coat­ing. This is required to make sure that the mate­r­i­al is not dam­aged by the aggres­sive envi­ron­ment on the anode side of the PEM electrolyzer.

Image: Amin, Hen­ri, Qi, Simin and Elisa – parts of Smoltek R&D‑team

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