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Smoltek Whitepaper Introducing Smoltek Electrolyzer Technology

Introducing Smoltek Electrolyzer Technology

Hydro­gen has proven to be a key to stor­ing renew­able energy and mak­ing heavy industry car­bon-free. But there is a catch. The hydro­gen is pro­duced by elec­tro­lys­is. Con­ven­tion­al alkaline elec­tro­lys­is has poor effi­ciency. And the much more high-per­form­ing poly­mer elec­tro­lyte mem­brane (PEM) elec­tro­lys­is requires rare earth metals. This is where Smol­tek’s tech­no­logy comes in. Our solu­tion, presen­ted in this white­pa­per, makes the elec­trodes in PEM elec­tro­lys­is up to three times more effi­cient while redu­cing the amount of pre­cious met­al needed.

The inter­mit­tent nature of renew­able energy sources such as sol­ar and wind power cre­ates a demand for solu­tions to store sur­plus elec­tri­city pro­duced on sunny or windy days for later use. One meth­od of stor­ing sur­plus elec­tri­city is to con­vert it into hydro­gen by elec­tro­lys­is of water. Fuel cells can then con­vert the hydro­gen back into elec­tri­city. The pro­duc­tion of hydro­gen by elec­tro­lys­is of water with fossil elec­tri­city is also vital for redu­cing the car­bon foot­print of indus­tries such as steel and cement manufacturing.

The demand for large-scale energy stor­age solu­tions and the industry’s need for hydro­gen cre­ate a demand for water elec­tro­lyz­er technology.

But con­vec­tion­al elec­tro­lyz­ers have issues with both cor­ros­ive elec­tro­lytes and poor efficiency.

There are more mod­ern elec­tro­lyz­ers that are both clean and highly effi­cient. But they have their own issues; their elec­trodes must be coated with the scarce and pre­cious metals plat­in­um and iridi­um. For com­par­is­on, gold is 40 times more abund­ant in the Earth’s crust than iridi­um. The annu­al pro­duc­tion is just three tonnes.

This is where Smoltek’s tech­no­logy comes in.

Smoltek’s tech­no­logy allows particles of the rare and pre­cious metals to be placed at the tip of car­bon nan­ofibers, which in turn are placed in a way that max­im­izes expos­ure. In this way, the elec­trodes can be made up to three times more effi­cient while redu­cing the amount of pre­cious met­al needed. This, in turn, can lead to sav­ings of up to 30 per­cent for hydro­gen pro­duc­tion plants.

Read more in the whitepaper!