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Electrolyzer Cell With Smoltek Anode Ptl


With our car­bon nan­ofibers (CNFs) fab­ric­a­tion tech­no­logy, we devel­op mater­i­al solu­tions for use in the hydro­gen industry.

Cur­rently, we focus on improv­ing the elec­tro­chem­ic­al cell in PEM elec­tro­lyz­ers and fuel cells. The cell enables the con­ver­sion of elec­tri­city into hydro­gen and vice versa. Thus, it’s a key com­pon­ent in stor­ing and trans­mit­ting renew­able energy and decar­bon­iz­ing industry, trans­port­a­tion, and heating.

Today’s PEM elec­tro­lyz­ers use costly cata­lyst particles which, in con­tact with the mem­brane, enable hydro­gen to be formed. These cata­lyst particles are usu­ally iridi­um or plat­in­um. In tra­di­tion­al tech­no­logy, these cata­lyst particles are mixed in ink that is applied dir­ectly with a mem­brane. How­ever, the meth­od is inef­fi­cient as not all these cata­lyst particles are in con­tact with the membrane.

Smoltek’s unique tech­no­logy uses coated (cor­ro­sion pro­tec­ted) car­bon nan­ofibers (CNFs) as cata­lyst sup­port, mak­ing all the extremely expens­ive iridi­um cata­lysts in full con­tact with the MEA. The res­ult is that the need for iridi­um particles can decrease rad­ic­ally – we have already showed that our cell mater­i­al can pro­duce the same amount of hydro­gen with only 0.5 mg iridium/​cm2 as a con­ven­tion­al cell that uses 2.5 mg iridium/​cm2.

Anoth­er advant­age of this new cell mater­i­al tech­no­logy is that the elec­tro­lyz­er cell itself can be min­im­ized by 2–3 times.

How­ever, this is, of course, a trade-off. Smoltek’s new nan­ofiber-based elec­tro­lyz­er cell mater­i­al can either reduce the amount of costly iridi­um particles or reduce the size of the elec­tro­lyz­er cell area by 2–3 times; all to enable more effi­cient CO2-free hydro­gen production.

So, do you want to reduce the amount of iridi­um particles (and still pro­duce the same amount of fossil-free hydro­gen), or do you want to reduce the size of the cell area in the elec­tro­lyz­er, thus get­ting a smal­ler and cheap­er electrolyzer?

The Smol­tek elec­tro­lyz­er cell mater­i­al com­bines the anode PTL with cata­lyst, thus redu­cing the MEA lay­er to just ½ MEA. As seen in the dif­fer­ent zoom-ins, the por­ous PTL is filled with car­bon nan­ofibers (CNFs) that pen­et­rate the ½ MEA, enabling all of the iridi­um cata­lysts to make con­tact with the MEA.

Advantages of Smoltek’s highly efficient cell material

Smoltek’s tech­no­logy offers a solu­tion to this prob­lem. It enables the man­u­fac­ture of a new and more effi­cient cell mater­i­al for PEM elec­tro­lyz­ers based on our pat­ent pro­tec­ted car­bon nan­o­tech­no­logy that cre­ates a three-dimen­sion­al sur­face struc­ture on the anode side’s PTL layer.

The tech­no­logy enables all iridi­um cata­lyst particles to come into con­tact with the mem­brane, thanks to the fact that nan­o­tech­no­logy means that the particles are placed dir­ectly on the sur­face. Thereby, the expens­ive cata­lyst particles are fully util­ized; thus, the iridi­um cata­lyst load in the cell can be reduced by up to 95 per­cent. This is par­tic­u­larly import­ant as the sup­ply of iridi­um and plat­in­um are con­sidered crit­ic­al, i.e. the future demand for these mater­i­als can­not be met with cer­tainty, and the reduced sup­ply risks lead to increased pro­duc­tion costs for green hydro­gen further.

Smoltek’s car­bon nan­ofiber three-dimen­sion­al sur­face struc­ture also means that the sur­face of the elec­trode (the one in con­tact with the mem­brane) is sig­ni­fic­antly increased. The sur­face struc­ture means that more particles can be placed on a giv­en sur­face, which means that the elec­tro­lyz­er can be reduced in size by two to three times while main­tain­ing capa­city. A reduced-size means, among oth­er things, smal­ler invest­ments and lower main­ten­ance and mater­i­al costs.

Learn more

Read more about our elec­tro­lyz­er cell mater­i­al tech­no­logy in the white­pa­per Intro­du­cing Smol­tek Elec­tro­lyz­er Tech­no­logy.

Don’t hes­it­ate to con­tact us with your questions.