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Smoltek Hydrogen’s plans revealed

Ellinor Ehrnberg, CEO of Smoltek Hydrogen, is interviewed in a popular podcast. She is asked about her career, the current challenges facing the hydrogen industry, how Smoltek Hydrogen is solving them and the company's future plans. You won't want to miss this! Read the summary and listen to the podcast.

In epis­ode 639 of the pod­cast Entre­pren­örsdriv (”Entre­pren­eur’s Drive”), Tomas Tränkner inter­viewed Ellinor Ehrn­berg, Pres­id­ent  of Smol­tek Hydro­gen AB. This insight­ful inter­view covered the innov­at­ive solu­tions Smol­tek Hydro­gen is devel­op­ing, Ehrn­ber­g’s back­ground and qual­i­fic­a­tions, the com­pany’s growth plans, industry feed­back, and busi­ness strategy for the next five years. This art­icle sum­mar­izes the key points of the inter­view, high­light­ing Smol­tek Hydro­gen­’s unique approach to solv­ing crit­ic­al chal­lenges in the green hydro­gen sec­tor and show­cas­ing Ehrn­ber­g’s expert­ise in lead­ing the com­pany to sig­ni­fic­ant growth.

Solving a critical challenge in green hydrogen production

Smol­tek Hydro­gen AB addresses one of the most press­ing issues in green hydro­gen pro­duc­tion: the depend­ence on iridi­um, one of the world’s rarest and most expens­ive metals. Iridi­um is essen­tial for PEM (Pro­ton Exchange Mem­brane) elec­tro­lyz­ers, which pro­duce hydro­gen by elec­tro­lys­is of water. How­ever, iridi­um’s scarcity and high cost are sig­ni­fic­ant bar­ri­ers to scal­ing up green hydro­gen pro­duc­tion. The price of iridi­um in 2024 is around EUR 200,000 per kilo­gram. It is expec­ted to rise sharply due to lim­ited annu­al pro­duc­tion of only 9 tons, sourced mainly from South Africa and Russia.

Smol­tek Hydro­gen has developed a tech­no­logy that dra­mat­ic­ally reduces the iridi­um required in PEM elec­tro­lyz­ers by up to 95%. This makes green hydro­gen pro­duc­tion more eco­nom­ic­al and scal­able, con­trib­ut­ing sig­ni­fic­antly to the glob­al trans­ition to sus­tain­able energy.

Ellinor Ehrnberg’s way to Smoltek Hydrogen

Ellinor Ehrn­berg brings a wealth of exper­i­ence and expert­ise to her role as Pres­id­ent of Smol­tek Hydro­gen AB.

She has a Ph.D. in Indus­tri­al Man­age­ment focus­ing on tech­no­lo­gic­al change and dis­rupt­ive innovation.

Her career includes stra­tegic roles in long-term plan­ning and busi­ness devel­op­ment, innov­a­tion man­age­ment and mer­gers and acquis­i­tions (M&A) at SKF, Mölnly­cke and Husqvarna. Before join­ing Smol­tek, she worked on tech­no­logy trends and stra­tegic plan­ning at RISE (Research Insti­tutes of Sweden), work­ing with CTOs from major Swedish companies.

Scaling up Smoltek Hydrogen AB

Smol­tek Hydro­gen AB is stra­tegic­ally posi­tioned to cap­it­al­ize on the rap­idly grow­ing demand for elec­tro­lyz­ers driv­en by the glob­al push for green hydro­gen. As the need for PEM (Pro­ton Exchange Mem­brane) elec­tro­lyz­ers skyrock­ets, the lim­ited avail­ab­il­ity of iridi­um is becom­ing a sig­ni­fic­ant bot­tle­neck. Man­u­fac­tur­ers urgently seek solu­tions to reduce iridi­um con­sump­tion, mak­ing Smol­tek Hydro­gen­’s innov­a­tion critical.

The industry moves through sev­er­al stages, from concept to pro­to­type devel­op­ment, fol­lowed by pilot pro­duc­tion and full-scale indus­tri­al­iz­a­tion. Smol­tek Hydro­gen has care­fully aligned its scal­ing strategy with these industry stages. By syn­chron­iz­ing its devel­op­ment timelines with major elec­tro­lyz­er man­u­fac­tur­ers, Smol­tek Hydro­gen ensures it is ready with a scal­able, iridi­um-effi­cient solu­tion when the mar­ket needs it. This pro­act­ive approach pos­i­tions Smol­tek Hydro­gen as a lead­er in green hydro­gen tech­no­logy. It ensures they can effect­ively meet the grow­ing demand, provid­ing a crit­ic­al solu­tion to an industry-wide challenge.

Industry Feedback and validation

Demand for PEM elec­tro­lyz­ers is expec­ted to grow rap­idly, mak­ing the effi­cient use of iridi­um crit­ic­al. Two approaches are avail­able: the exist­ing tech­nique of depos­it­ing iridi­um dir­ectly onto the pro­ton exchange mem­brane and Smol­tek’s meth­od of depos­it­ing iridi­um on met­al in con­tact with the membrane.

The exist­ing tech­nique wastes much iridi­um, and attempts to reduce this waste have proven inad­equate. Inde­pend­ent stud­ies have shown that elim­in­at­ing this waste is phys­ic­ally impossible by pla­cing iridi­um ink dir­ectly on the pro­ton exchange membrane.

Smol­tek Hydro­gen­’s solu­tion is to cre­ate a forest of nano­scale met­al rods to which the iridi­um is attached atom by atom. This allows every iridi­um atom to come into con­tact with the mem­brane and be use­ful. In this way, Smol­tek can reduce iridi­um usage by 95% with the same effic­acy as today.

Until recently, Smol­tek Hydro­gen did not make a big deal about its tech­no­logy. There was no point until they demon­strated in a 1,000-hour dur­ab­il­ity test that the solu­tion met real-world require­ments. How­ever, with the suc­cess­ful com­ple­tion of the 1,000-hour test, they have now begun to show­case their solu­tion. This break­through has attrac­ted con­sid­er­able atten­tion at the 245th Elec­tro­chem­ic­al Soci­ety Meet­ing, high­light­ing Smol­tek Hydro­gen­’s poten­tial to revo­lu­tion­ize the green hydro­gen industry by address­ing a crit­ic­al resource challenge.

Smoltek Hydrogen’s Five-year business plan

Smol­tek Hydro­gen­’s five-year busi­ness plan focuses on find­ing a stra­tegic part­ner, indus­tri­al or fin­an­cial, to co-cre­ate a com­mer­cial product based on its tech­no­logy. Dis­cus­sions are under­way with sev­er­al poten­tial part­ners. The plan is to devel­op pro­duc­tion capa­city in sync with the part­ner­’s devel­op­ment pro­ject: First, a pilot plant for small-scale indus­tri­al pro­duc­tion, fol­lowed by a full-scale, high-volume pro­duc­tion unit. They already have a sup­pli­er ready to build a turn­key pro­duc­tion facility.

Giv­en the new paradigm for build­ing PEM elec­tro­lyz­ers, intro­duced by Smoltek’s solu­tion, many sur­round­ing com­pon­ents can be improved for great­er effi­ciency. Smol­tek Hydro­gen wants to be part of this broad­er devel­op­ment. Ellinor Ehrn­berg says, “We are at the cen­ter of it all; it’s in iridi­um that things are hap­pen­ing.” This stra­tegic approach pos­i­tions Smol­tek Hydro­gen to lead the way in revo­lu­tion­iz­ing PEM elec­tro­lyz­er pro­duc­tion and improv­ing the over­all effi­ciency of green hydro­gen technology.


This art­icle sum­mar­izes the key points from Ellinor Ehrn­ber­g’s inter­view on the Entre­pren­örsdriv pod­cast. It high­lights how Smol­tek Hydro­gen addresses the crit­ic­al chal­lenge of iridi­um scarcity in green hydro­gen pro­duc­tion, Ehrn­ber­g’s extens­ive back­ground, the com­pany’s stra­tegic growth plans, and the industry’s pos­it­ive feed­back. To gain deep­er insights into Smol­tek Hydro­gen­’s innov­at­ive solu­tions and pro­spects, listen to the full episode:

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