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!

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